Getting tired behind the wheel is not uncommon. People who are up late or have sleep disorders may find themselves feeling drowsy; drivers can start feeling sleepy after several hours of being on the road.
Despite being common, drowsy driving can be exceptionally dangerous, especially for drivers operating a massive commercial truck.
What happens when truckers are tired
Fatigue and drowsiness can affect motorists in several ways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that sleepiness can impair a driver’s:
- Response time
- Decision-making skills
Sleepy drivers can be at a higher risk of losing control of their vehicle, swerving out of their lanes and crashing. And when a motorist is behind the wheel of a 15,000-pound truck measuring over 70 feet, the consequences of a fatigue-related accident can be (and often are) catastrophic.
Measures to prevent drowsy driving
Truck drivers make their living on the road. And they have an incentive to reach their destination as quickly as possible. However, too often, drivers take risks to reach this goal, including driving even when they are drowsy.
There are various measures in place to attempt to prevent drowsy driving among truck drivers. For example, federal Hours of Service regulations restrict the number of hours a driver can be on the road and sets rules for when a driver must stop and rest.
Further, truck drivers must have a medical card showing they are medically fit to operate a truck. During the required physical, the doctor may order testing for sleep apnea. A moderate or severe sleep apnea diagnosis can prevent a person from driving until they receive treatment for the condition.
Drowsy driving remains a real problem
Despite these and other measures to prevent truckers from driving while tired, it still happens. When it does, the trucker can cause a devastating truck accident that threatens their lives and other road users.
An investigation could reveal that trucking companies or the trucker violated state or federal regulations, in which case they could be liable for accident-related damages. This is why filing a police report and consulting an attorney can be critical after these crashes.