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Fatigued truck drivers can be deadly on Oklahoma highways

Tractor-trailers frequently pass through Lawton on I-44. Many of these truckers have been on the road for hours by the time they get here, and they might have hundreds of miles yet to cover that day. Due to the sheer size of the United States and frequent demands from trucking companies to cover an unrealistic amount of distance per day, truck drivers often must forgo rest and sleep.

Just like anybody else, truckers need to get enough sleep at night to function behind the wheel. Drowsy driving’s effects are similar to drunk driving and can lead to a violent accident. And when the drowsy driver is operating a huge 18-wheeler, the consequences can be especially tragic. No matter how alert they are, someone in a car, truck, SUV or motorcycle might not have time to evade a semi that has swerved into their lane as the driver dozes off.

Federal rules to prevent drowsy truck driving

Federal regulations limit how much time truck drivers are supposed to spend on the road and working in general. Drivers are not supposed to exceed 60 hours on duty over seven consecutive days or 70 hours on duty over eight consecutive days. Before starting a day of driving, the driver must spend at least ten consecutive hours off duty or two off-duty periods of at least two hours and at least seven hours in their cab’s sleeper berth. Even then, they cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours within a 14-hour on-duty period.

Despite these rules, not every truck driver on the road in Oklahoma is sufficiently well-rested. You never know if a semi near you on the highway will suddenly veer into your path because the driver is nodding off or too sleepy to realize what is happening. The resulting collision could rob you of your physical abilities, earning power and quality of life.