Truckers operate very heavy trucks and trailers. When you add the cargo to it, the weight increases considerably. Because the weight, size and speed of these trucks can be devastating in an accident, it is imperative that truckers are well rested and ready to give their full attention to the road when they drive. Not doing so could lead to semitruck crashes.
Whether the trucker is suffering from burnout or fatigue, he or she can’t give driving the rig the attention necessary to make it to the destination safely. Even though burnout and fatigue are often lumped together, they are very different. Here are some points you should know:
Trucker burnout doesn’t have anything to do with fatigue. Instead, it has to do with an inability to devote the full attention to driving because of driving too much without any real breaks. Many truckers won’t take meaningful vacations because the money stops when they aren’t on the road. This means that they are often on the road for work every week for years without ever having time away from the rig. This can cause the trucker to have lax standards and lack of cares when he or she drives, which could lead to significant safety issues.
Many people equate trucker fatigue with lack of sleep, but this isn’t always the case. Yes, lack of sleep is a primary cause of fatigue, so it is important for truckers to rest when they are out of service. Medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, can lead to fatigue. Stress can also cause the trucker to feel fatigued. The same is true when truckers drive on familiar roads or in hot and stuffy cabs.
Driving at night it also a contributing factor since the human body is programmed to sleep at night. Additionally, highway hypnosis can cause a trucker to zone out, so he or she might be awake but just not truly focusing on the road.
Tight schedules, which are caused by trucking companies promising delivery times that border on ridiculous, is another contributing factor. Even being out of shape can be a problem here.
Because trucker fatigue is such a big safety hazard, truckers are bound by Hours of Service regulations. If you are involved in a trucking crash that might have been caused by a fatigued trucker, checking the trucker’s log to determine if this regulation was complied with is sometimes a good starting point for your investigation. It could come into the picture if you opt to seek compensation.