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Fatigue is a problem for truck drivers: Here’s why

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2020 | Truck Accidents

Truck drivers are in charge of transporting many of the goods that people need around the country. They do a necessary job. The trouble is that truck drivers who are too tired could cause significant crashes that lead to injuries or deaths.

Truck driver fatigue has a few causes. Some may include:

  • Driving for a long period of time without a break.
  • Not getting enough sleep prior to a shift.
  • Taking medications that impact your ability to stay awake.
  • Driving when the body is naturally drowsy, fighting your circadian rhythm.
  • Medical conditions that cause insomnia or sudden bouts of exhaustion.
  • Extended work hours.
  • Strenuous activities at work or outside work.

Based on The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, it was found that 13% of all commercial motor vehicle drivers were tired or fatigued when they crashed.

How does sleep inertia play a role in crashes?

Sleep inertia is a groggy, disoriented feeling that some people suffer from after waking up. This doesn’t usually last long, but some people may have it longer than others. Normally, it goes away in around 15 minutes, but if a truck driver decides to immediately get behind the wheel after waking, they could be at risk of crashing.

Sleep inertia can affect your short-term memory, cognitive functioning, reaction time, ability to stay awake and vigilance. Drivers are most likely to have a sleep-related issue within the first hour of driving because of this possible condition.

How can drivers avoid problems with grogginess or fatigue?

Drivers who are going to be behind the wheel of a large truck need to do all they can to get enough sleep each day. If they are tired, they should pull over and take a nap. A nap should last at least 10 minutes, but 45 is the ideal length of time. After a nap, drivers should allow at least 15 minutes before they begin driving, which can reduce the impact of sleep inertia.

As a victim of a serious truck accident, it’s important that you understand the causes above are not acceptable reasons for crashing. There is never an excuse for putting your own life or others’ lives in danger. Truck drivers know about the risks drowsiness causes, yet they continue to drive while drowsy. That kind of behavior has to be addressed, and it’s something that your attorney will work with you on during your case.