When you feel tired, neither your brain nor your body operates optimally. Exhausted people may feel physically weak and can have a hard time paying attention. Making decisions, staying focused and quickly reacting are all harder when someone is tired.
There are fatigued and exhausted drivers all over the road, and any one of them can cause a crash either by falling asleep at the wheel or just not responding appropriately to sudden changes in the flow of traffic.
However, truck drivers are at a higher than average risk for exhaustion because of their demanding jobs. They are also in a position to cause even more serious collisions than those in other, smaller vehicles. Trucker fatigue is a very real safety concern for anyone on public roads.
Truck Drivers Often Work Very Long Hours
Whether commercial drivers run regional routes or travel from coast to coast every week, they probably spend more than half their days in the cab of their semitrucks. While there are Hours of Service (HOS) rules, some truckers find ways to break the rules that limit how long they can drive.
Alternatively, drivers may only put in the appropriate number of hours on the job but may then have to commute an hour each way to get to and from their homes. They may simply not have enough time to get a full eight hours of sleep. Medical conditions, chronic pain and even the overuse of caffeine to stay alert on the job can all affect how well drivers sleep. Lack of a good night’s rest can increase their overall fatigue.
Tired truck drivers could make mistakes that cause crashes and injure others. The victims of those crashes may need to file insurance claims or even civil lawsuits to recoup the expenses they incur from such collisions.