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The hazards of truck driver fatigue

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2021 | Personal Injury, Truck Accidents

There are over 4,000 miles of highway in Connecticut, and you will find trucks driving on each one. Commercial trucking is a billion-dollar industry that brings consumers the food and products they desire. Unfortunately, driving heavy trucks with tons of products across the state or across the country can be hazardous. Long hours and stressful conditions can make truck drivers vulnerable to dangerous, drowsy driving.

What causes drowsy driving?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits the amount of time that a driver is supposed to be on the road without a break. In most cases, drivers must limit their time on the road to 11 hours after a 10-hour break for rest. These drivers are also supposed to take periodic 30-minute breaks.

However, some drivers feel pressured to push the limits to make an on-time delivery. They will drive past the point where their bodies are naturally looking for rest. Driving under these conditions, they become less alert and slower to respond.
Other factors can make drowsy driving more likely. For example, a driver who is fighting off an illness or taking medication may be dealing with fatigue even before getting in the truck.

The dangers of drowsy driving

Drowsy driving has many of the same hazards as driving while intoxicated. Tired drivers have compromised attention and slower reflexes. They are less likely to notice hazards and have a lowered ability to respond to them.

Motor vehicle accidents caused by tired drivers can take several forms. Such accidents are made even more dangerous by the large size and weight of a commercial truck. A tired driver might get into accidents by:

  • swerving into oncoming traffic
  • braking suddenly due to a missed exit
  • colliding with a stopped vehicle
  • colliding with a vehicle in its blind spots
  • missing a turn in the road

Keeping the roads safe

Both drivers and trucking companies must take steps to keep commercial trucking safe. Drivers who feel pressured to perform while tired can become a deadly hazard. People who have been injured in a collision may want to seek legal help to determine who was at fault in a drowsy-driving accident.

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