How Can Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents

Michael James

How Can Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents

Despite playing an essential role in transporting goods across states, that usually means that truckers have to drive long hours. And during those long hours, it is also very likely that they get tired and fall asleep on the wheel, causing a serious accident. Some of you might be wondering, how can fatigue cause an accident.  

Truckers can get mentally and physically tired over the course of their deliveries, as they usually have to drive long hours. Drivers often experience fatigue on the road as they try to make a tight order, which reduces their performance. Along with skipping on proper sleep, it is very likely that they do not stop for breaks either. 

How Can Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents

Causes of Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers can feel fatigued for a number of reasons, especially when they are out on the road.  One of the most common reasons for fatigue is sleep deprivation, which is often because of excessive driving. Driving, especially on the highway, can become monotonous,making you feel drowsy. This drowsiness will only get worse with sleep-deprivation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) list the different factors that can contribute to driver fatigue:

  • Driving during naturally drowsy hours, which are between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., as well as between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., can make drivers feel more tired.
  • Taking certain medications that can cause drowsiness. The instructions on these medications often advise against operating heavy machinery, including vehicles, after consumption.
  • Overworking, as spending long hours working, can further increase drowsiness while driving. Truck drivers, for example, often have tight schedules that require them to drive for extended periods without breaks.
  • Having untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can increase the likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel.
How Can Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents

Consequences of Driver Fatigue 

According to the Albuquerque truck accident attorneys at the Fine Law Firm, tired drivers can struggle significantly with navigating routes that they usually drive on, and can possibly fall asleep on the wheel. Fatigue, combined with the weight and size of the truck, can lead to accidents such as:

  1. Swerving between lanes. 
  2. Drifting off the road.  
  3. Accidentally accelerating due to unconscious pressure on the gas pedal.

Suppose a driver falls asleep at the wheel. They might veer off the road and collide with a concrete wall or something dangerous.  They could collide with a tree, or another vehicle. Suddenly waking up can also lead to a crash if the driver overcorrects the steering wheel. Suddenly shifting that weight could lead to the vehicle spinning or rolling over.

Fatigue is a common issue among truck drivers. Along with their tight schedule and unlikeliness to take breaks, this fatigue can reach a breaking point when they fall asleep at the wheel. In fact, falling asleep at the wheel is the most common reason for trucking accidents.  It is important for truck drivers to take care of themselves when operating a semi-truck to avoid serious collisions that can lead to injuries or death.

Article Last Updated: February 20, 2024.

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