Commercial truck drivers play a critical role in today’s commerce. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are nearly 3.5 million commercial truckers in the United States. Unfortunately, though, if one of these drivers does not get sufficient rest before climbing behind the wheel, your life may be in jeopardy.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that driver fatigue is a factor in nearly 14% of tractor-trailer crashes. To keep motorists safe, federal regulations require drivers to follow strict guidelines for both drive and sleep time. If you have sustained a serious injury in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you likely want to investigate whether the driver complied with these rules.
While there are many reasons why a commercial vehicle may crash, driver fatigue is a critical one. Put simply, fatigue occurs when a truck driver continues to drive despite feeling tired or sleepy. While fatigue can affect any motorist, commercial drivers may be particularly susceptible to it. That is, in an attempt to meet strict delivery and pickup deadlines, truck drivers may ignore the warning signs of drowsy driving.
Typically, fatigue occurs because drivers do not have enough sleep before hitting the road. Drug or alcohol use can also affect drowsiness, however. Furthermore, if a driver has a medical condition, such as sleep apnea, he or she may experience fatigue despite having sufficient rest time.
A commercial trucker can minimize his or her chances of feeling fatigued by always getting sufficient rest. If that does not happen, though, the consequences of drowsy driving may be extreme. Unfortunately, a commercial driver may experience one or more of the following:
- Reduced focus
- Slowed reaction times
- Impaired decision making
If commercial drivers do not have sufficient rest, your quality of life may be at risk. That is, a collision with a commercial truck may leave you with serious injuries. By understanding the dangers of fatigued driving, you are in a better position to advocate for fair compensation.