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Truck Driver Tiredness and Fatigue in Commercial Trucking Accidents

We often underestimate the effects of tiredness. After a full day of work, we often keep going by cooking dinner, taking kids to sports activities, checking emails and watching TV. We may then get five or six hours of sleep and repeat the same schedule the next day.

Too much work and not enough sleep leads to fatigue, which can be deadly in the workplace. This is especially true in the trucking industry. Semi trucks weight tens of thousands of pounds and are often driven by drivers who lack experience and training. Combine this with fatigue and you have a recipe for disaster. It is not uncommon for truck accidents to cause fatalities. Those who survive such an event are very lucky.

Why Fatigue is Common in the Trucking Industry

Fatigue is one of the top 10 factors that cause truck accidents. Studies show that 13 percent of truck drivers involved in truck crashes are fatigued at the time.

Why are truck drivers so tired? According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers have an 11-hour driving limit under the hours of service rules. This is a long time to be driving each day as it is. Some trucking companies illegally allow truck drivers to drive for even longer periods each day.

By the end of the day, truck drivers are extremely tired. They may be lacking sleep or driving at a time when they normally would be sleeping. Their reaction times and judgment is negatively affected. It may be difficult for them to focus and keep their eyes open. They may have trouble with short-term memory and find themselves constantly yawning.

The problem, however, is that truck drivers are often too confident in their abilities. They are under pressure from trucking companies to keep driving to meet deadlines. As a result, they underestimate their fatigue. They don’t realize how tired they really are until it’s too late, and this leads to serious crashes.

Combatting Fatigue

Fortunately, there are things truck drivers can do to prevent tiredness and fatigue while driving. Getting adequate sleep is a great way to prevent fatigue. Time of day is more of a factor in accidents than time on task. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to avoid driving when your body is naturally tired, which is typically between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

It’s also crucial to eat well. Too little food can cause you to feel lightheaded and fatigued, while eating too much can make you feel sleepy. Aim for lighter meals and snacks throughout the day to keep energy levels up.

Get Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Case

Truck accidents are often serious in nature, causing major injuries and even death. While other motorists may be to blame for causing accidents, truck drivers do contribute to many crashes. They often work long hours, and fatigue is common.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a truck accident, the Miami personal injury attorneys at the law offices of Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can help. Truck accidents are very complicated, so act quickly to hold the liable party accountable.  Request a free consultation by calling our law offices today at (786) 661-1359.