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How Truck Driver Fatigue Affects Other Motorists on the Road

Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is a surprisingly common problem. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), a reported 13% of commercial truck drivers experienced fatigue at the time of their truck accident. Driver fatigue doesn’t just impact these commercial drivers, though. 

In fact, driver fatigue can be a major safety hazard to anyone else that may be sharing the road. This includes other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. So, what’s the real danger of truck driver fatigue? And what causes these problems? Keep reading to learn more.


Federal Mandates to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue

A fatigued truck driver can be a real problem. This has caused the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association to create limitations regarding how many continuous hours a truck driver can spend on the road. These regulations state that a truck driver must:

  • Only drive for 11 hours during each 14-hour shift
  • Stop for at least 10 hours after each 14-hour shift

Additionally, drivers must take at least 30-minute breaks. Drivers should take these breaks at least every 8 hours.

Why Do Truckers Ignore These Guidelines?

Unfortunately, companies feeling the pressure of driver shortages may ignore these regulations, and ignoring these regulations can be dangerous. 

It can also expose companies to legal repercussions should an accident or injury occur. These regulations protect the drivers and their companies. Additionally, they also protect everyone else on the road. 


Why Is Driving While Fatigued Dangerous?

trucking accident

Driving requires your undivided attention. Brain fog and highway hypnosis are serious risks that limit your attention span. All drivers can suffer from driving fatigue. However, it is a particularly dangerous challenge when the sensation affects commercial trucks.

Delayed Reaction Times

A fatigued driver is much less likely to be able to react to potential emergencies. For example, if a car cuts off a tired truck driver, the trucker may be unable to immediately respond and brake to avoid a life-threatening collision. A tired driver cannot react as quickly as is necessary to keep themselves and others safe.

Potential emergencies that could arise are changing weather conditions, unexpected road curvatures, and construction zones. Because commercial trucks are so large and heavy, they require more time to maneuver. Keep this in mind and drive cautiously when next to an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or another big rig. 

Tunnel Vision

A sleepy driver is particularly vulnerable to tunnel vision. This condition occurs when a truck driver can only see directly in front of them. That widens their blind spots, making for a dangerous visibility issue.

Large trucks already have a narrowed field of vision due to the size of their vehicles. But when tunnel vision sets in, it makes the problem even worse. Tunnel vision could cause collisions when changing lanes, turning, or entering a roadway. These collisions can be life-threatening. 

Poor Decision-Making

Fatigue and alcohol consumption drastically reduces people’s ability to make good decisions, which is particularly hazardous when operating a motor vehicle.

If a tired or inebriated truck driver’s state of mind is affected, the driver may be more inclined to speed to reach a destination. As a result, the trucker may ignore the dangers of speeding or may not be able to accurately gauge their distance from other passenger vehicles.

Bad decisions such as ignoring traffic signals, confusion while navigating, or driving recklessly can all be a result of being in an altered state.


Who’s Liable in a Fatigued Truck Driving Collision?

truck accident lawyer for truck driver fatigue

So what happens when a fatigued truck driver causes a collision? Who’s responsible? Generally, accidents involving commercial trucks will require a serious investigation. Usually, the accident is the responsibility of one of two entities. These are:

  • The truck driver themselves
  • The trucking company

The Truck Driver

Sometimes, the truck driver is responsible for a collision. Truckers can be found at fault for a truck accident if they were driving recklessly, and their negligence caused the crash. 

It is important for truck drivers to carefully consider how their actions will affect other drivers and people sharing the road. When this is not considered, then the truck drivers are breaching their duty of care not to endanger other drivers.

The Trucking Company

In some cases, the trucking company may be liable for the incident. This happens when the trucking company’s policies are what lead to the collision.

For example, some trucking companies will push their drivers to their limits, pressuring drivers not to take breaks so that deadlines are not missed or delayed. If federal regulations, like required break periods, are ignored, then the trucking company can be found liable for the truck accident.

If the trucking company is found liable, victims of these collisions may be entitled to significant compensation. 


Find the Help You Need

Working with a  personal injury attorney can help protect victims from being taken advantage of after a commercial trucking accident. If you’ve been in a serious accident involving a commercial vehicle, contact Alpha Accident Lawyers. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys can help you recover maximum compensation. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more. 


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