Drowsy and fatigued driving increases the chances of an accident occurring. Any driver can succumb to fatigue, leading to an accident resulting in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Such a scenario is magnified even more so when a big-rig truck is involved.
Since these monstrous vehicles weigh several tons, truck driver fatigue increases the chances that serious injuries will occur in road accidents. Granted, truck drivers often are under pressure by their employers to meet unrealistic deadlines. In these situations, they soldier on, even though they are tired.
Various reasons for truck driver fatigue
Truck drivers usually work alone and must fight boredom and loneliness. They get tired during work shifts and must abide by the 14-hour rule pertaining to their schedule. During that time, they can drive for up to 11 hours.
Here are some of the main causes of drowsy or fatigued driving among truckers:
- Sickness: Upon becoming ill, anyone desires rest, which heals the body. However, truck drivers try to stick to those set-in-stone deadlines and continue to drive even though their bodies crave sleep.
- Use of medication: The side effects from some prescription medications include drowsiness and fatigue
- Inebriation from alcohol or drugs: A 2013 study of truck drivers around the world disclosed that half of the drivers interviewed admitted to drinking alcohol on the job. Other drivers may use drugs, too. Inebriation, whether from alcohol or drugs, caused drivers to become fatigued.
- Working unusual hours: Their work shifts vary as they may drive certain mornings or in the dead of night. Inconsistent work schedules affect the body’s time clock, and it is difficult for some truckers to adjust.
The trucking industry, truck-driving companies and truck drivers must address the drowsy driving issue. Avoiding these discussions continues to put the lives of millions of U.S. drivers and their passengers at risk. Liability issues related to accidents with injuries fall squarely on the trucking companies and their drivers.