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When Can Driver Fatigue Lead to Truck Accidents?

Posted on in Commercial Truck Crashes

Houston truck crash attorneyDriving a commercial truck is not easy. Truck drivers must constantly remain alert to ensure that they are in control of these large, heavy vehicles, and they need to be able to respond quickly and effectively to conditions on the road. Unfortunately, there are a variety of issues that can affect a truck driver’s ability to drive safely, and driver fatigue is one of the most common, and most dangerous, of these concerns. When truck drivers are fatigued or drowsy, the likelihood of truck accidents increases significantly, and these collisions can cause serious harm to people in other vehicles.

Common Reasons for Truck Driver Fatigue

Spending long hours on the road is something that every truck driver needs to be ready for. Unfortunately, remaining awake and alert during a lengthy trip is not always easy. To address this issue, truck drivers are required to take regular breaks, and the number of hours they can drive is limited. “Hours of service” regulations require drivers to maintain logs of their driving time, and they can only drive a certain number of hours each day and within a week. 

In some cases, truck drivers may violate regulations and exceed their allowed hours of service, or they may falsify driving logs in order to spend more time on the road and deliver cargo more quickly. However, even when drivers follow all regulations, they may still become drowsy or fatigued due to issues such as:

  • Irregular hours - Drivers are more likely to become drowsy when driving late at night or in the early morning hours. If a driver does not follow a consistent schedule when driving, they may struggle to remain awake and alert when driving during hours when they would normally be sleeping.
  • Sleep disorders - Truck drivers may be diagnosed with sleep apnea, or they may experience other medical issues that affect their ability to get enough rest when sleeping. This can affect their ability to remain awake during a long driving shift.
  • Drug use - Some truck drivers use controlled substances such as cocaine or methamphetamines to combat fatigue, but the use of these drugs can drastically affect their ability to safely control a large truck. Other types of medications can also cause drowsiness, such as prescription opioids or cold and flu medicines. 
  • Ineffective methods of remaining alert - Drivers who are struggling to stay awake may use multiple different methods to fight drowsiness, such as driving with the windows rolled down, playing loud music, or drinking coffee. However, these methods do not actually address fatigue, and they may provide a false sense of security, making a person feel that they are safe to drive when they are likely to nod off or fall asleep behind the wheel.

Contact Our Harris County Truck Accident Lawyers

Accidents involving commercial trucks can be devastating, and victims will want to understand the reasons for a collision and the steps they can take to address their injuries and damages. At the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec, we work to help injury victims take legal action against negligent truck drivers and trucking companies, and we fight to make sure they can receive the financial compensation they deserve. Contact our Houston truck wreck attorneys today at 281-643-2000 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-fatigue

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK384974/

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/newsroom/feature/driverfatigue.html

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