Exhaustion contributes to poor trucker performance and crashes

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | Truck accidents |

The American economy never sleeps, which means that truckers often don’t get to sleep either. There is constant demand for goods and raw materials, and the commercial trucking industry provides a crucial service for the American economy.

Land transportation helps keep the costs of retail items and production low in the United States. However, having so many commercial vehicles out on the road has its own costs. Specifically, people in passenger vehicles could suffer life-altering, permanent or fatal injuries in a crash caused by a commercial truck.

Many different issues can contribute to a trucker causing a commercial collision, including drunk driving, a sudden medical event or distraction. However, fatigue or exhaustion is a very common issue that affects thousands of truck drivers around the country and could easily contribute to a crash.

Fatigue can affect the performance of a driver like alcohol does

Many people in the United States are sleep-deprived, and each of them is dangerous if they get behind the wheel while feeling fatigued. However, given that it takes much more skill and awareness to maintain control over a commercial vehicle than a smaller passenger vehicle, fatigue in truck drivers is a particularly serious concern.

The longer someone has gone without sleep, the more severe the impact on their driving. Fatigue can increase reaction times, affect decision making and even make it harder for someone to pay attention to the road. Experts can correlate the number of hours someone has gone without sleep to the likely impact of a specific amount of alcohol in their bloodstream.

The rules to prevent trucker fatigue aren’t particularly practical

While the research is quite clear that those who go most of a day or a full 24 hours without sleep are not safe to drive, federal safety regulations don’t fully reflect that knowledge. Truck drivers can have a shift that lasts up to 14 hours, provided they only actively drive for 11 hours.

These rules do not account for how long a trucker may have to commute to and from home after their shift or any other off-the-clock obligations. Commercial drivers who have a heavy workload may sacrifice sleep to maximize their income. When they do, they put everyone else on the road at risk for a crash.

Understanding how fatigue contributes to truck collisions could help you hold a driver accountable if they cause a crash.