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Truck drivers and fatigue

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | Automobile Accidents

Truck drivers likely realize their vehicles could inflict significant damage in an accident. So, many professional drivers avoid dangerous behaviors, such as speeding or making reckless lane changes. However, numerous truckers take to California roads despite being fatigued, and driving while tired can often result in incidents as severe as driving while intoxicated.

Fatigue affects driving behavior

Operating a motor vehicle, particularly a big rig type truck, while in a tired state can significantly decrease perceptual senses that are key to safe driving. Truck drivers might suffer from decreased perceptual awareness while tired. Their reactions may slow down, making it harder for them to avoid collisions. A tired driver’s mental state could suffer from the same cognitive problems as a drunk driver if the truck driver goes without sleep long enough.

Federal and state laws regulate the number of hours a truck driver may travel before taking a mandatory break. Those who violate these rules could be liable for accidents caused by fatigue. Still, other factors could cause a truck driver to feel exhausted.

Causes of fatigued driving

Multi-vehicle accidents could occur when a truck driver feels ill or has taken medication. Both particular over-the-counter and prescription medications may cause drowsiness, making it risky for anyone to take them before getting behind the wheel. Also, driving with any illness that causes tiredness might undermine the safe operation of a semi-truck.

Of course, illegal drugs and alcohol are obvious agents for danger on roadways, both because these substances generally hinder the perceptual awareness of the driver and also because they can frequently cause problems with staying awake. Truck drivers (and the companies that employ them) may face severe civil and criminal penalties in the aftermath of a collision caused by drug and/or alcohol use.

Sometimes, drivers might not do anything out of the ordinary, but working odd hours or strange shifts could affect their focus on the road. The effects could include fatigue, and ignoring such signs may also lead to accidents, the aftermath of which could also include litigation, particularly if anyone ends up hurt in the collision.