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The Danger of Driver Fatigue in Commercial Drivers

Photo of a truck driver in a blue cab yawning.

Driving is a routine part of daily life for millions of people across the United States. Yet, truck drivers who handle large commercial vehicles face unique challenges that can pose serious risks to themselves and others on the road. One such challenge is driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue can be caused by several factors, such as long hours behind the wheel, irregular sleeping patterns, and poor eating habits. In this blog post, we will explore the prevalence of driver fatigue in commercial drivers, what it is, and the dangerous consequences of driving big trucks while fatigued.

Prevalence of Driver Fatigue in Commercial Drivers

Truck driving is a demanding profession that often requires long hours, little sleep, and tight deadlines. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers involved in a crash were reported to have been fatigued at the time of the crash. Alarmingly, a separate survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly 20% of truck drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once within the past month.

Understanding Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is a condition that can occur when a person is mentally and physically tired. Fatigue can be caused by a lack of sleep, intense physical work, or other factors that make it difficult to stay alert and focused. Signs of driver fatigue can include:

  • Yawning
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Drifting out of lanes
  • Slower reaction times

In commercial drivers, fatigue can be caused by driving for extended periods with inadequate rest, long work hours, inadequate sleep, and disruption of the body's internal clock.

The Consequences of Driving Big Trucks While Fatigued

When drivers operate big trucks while fatigued, they are a danger to themselves and others on the road. Fatigued driving can impair reaction time, judgment, and decision-making abilities, leading to accidents or collisions with other vehicles. When a commercial truck driver is involved in an accident, the repercussions can be severe, including injuries or fatalities. Moreover, truck companies and drivers can face serious legal penalties for accidents caused by driver fatigue, including lawsuits and hefty fines.

Preventing Driver Fatigue

The key to preventing driver fatigue is proper rest and adequate time off. Federal regulations, known as Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, set limits on the number of hours commercial motor vehicle drivers can operate a truck without taking a break.

In general, drivers may only drive 11 hours in a 14-hour workday, followed by at least 10 consecutive hours of rest. Moreover, the FMCSA requires truck drivers to keep a log of their driving hours to ensure they are adhering to these rules. Drivers should also practice good sleep hygiene, such as:

  • Reinforcing regular sleep patterns.
  • Eating well.
  • Maintaining a healthy exercise regimen.

Commercial truck drivers who fail to get adequate sleep or rest are putting themselves and others in danger of accidents or collisions. To avoid the risks of driver fatigue, it is important for drivers to prioritize their rest and follow the HOS regulations.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a big truck crash in Louisiana, one of our experienced truck accident attorneys at Chris Corzo Injury Attorneys will help you understand your rights and explore your options for seeking compensation.

Contact us online or call us at (225) 230-3110 to schedule an appointment with our experienced 18-wheeler accident attorneys in Baton Rouge today.

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