Truck drivers behind the wheel of a semi trick who are fatigued can pose a serious danger to others they share the roadways with. It is important for truckers to avoid truck driver fatigue and for victims of truck drivers who are driving while fatigued to be familiar with personal injury legal resources to help protect them.
Driver fatigue can be deadly
Truck driver fatigue is dangerous. It can be caused by inadequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous activities or a combination of other factors. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13% of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their truck accident. Fatigue can slow reaction times; reduce attentiveness; cause memory lapses, lack of awareness and mood changes; and reduce proper judgment.
Truck drivers can take several steps to help avoid truck driver fatigue. The number one way to avoid truck driver fatigue is for truck drivers to get adequate rest. This may include taking naps that should range from 10 to 45 minutes in length. Other ways they can help avoid fatigue while driving include maintaining a healthy diet. Skipping meals and irregular meals can lead to fatigue and food cravings. Drivers should also avoid taking medications while driving that can cause drowsiness and should be familiar with he signs of drowsiness. Drivers should never rely on alertness tricks to keep awake while driving and should instead rely on getting adequate rest and maintaining a healthy diet.
In fact, federal and state laws require truck drivers to take rests after a certain number of hours behind the wheel. Truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours a day, and only after getting 10 hours off. They must take a 30-minute break after every consecutive 8 hours driving. There are further rules about how many hours truckers can drive in a week. Drivers of passenger vehicles, such as bus drivers, have even more restrictive rules.
In some situations, truck drivers may feel pressures to meet unreasonable deadlines and to push themselves in situations that result in drowsy driving. Unrealistic deadlines may cause truck drivers not to get adequate sleep or take necessary and required rest breaks. When this happens, truck drivers and truck companies may be liable for the harm suffered by victims of a truck accident. A personal injury claim for damages can help hold negligent truck drivers and truck companies accountable and also help victims obtain compensation for their damages suffered in a truck accident because of a fatigued driver.