The risk of getting into a deadly crash is far higher when a driver is excessively sleepy while operating a vehicle. Truck drivers are more likely than the average person to drive while fatigued because they are often pressured by the companies that hire them to haul cargo to go faster.
What are the signs of drowsy driving?
There are some signs that truckers should look out for themselves in order to prevent them from driving when too tired. In fact, all of these warning signs are important for all drivers. For example, if you work long shifts or at night, but then have probably experienced feeling really tired behind the wheel. Individuals with sleep disorders that prevent them from getting a good night’s rest are also prone to driving drowsy. If you find yourself doing any of these, then it is time to pull over and have someone else drive you:
- Frequent yawning,
- Missing your exit
- Hitting one of the sleeper lines (also called drifter strips or drunk bumps) which are the bumpy strips on either shoulder of the road that alerts inattentive drivers by making the car shake
- Having difficulty remembering how long or far you’ve been driving
How does drowsiness affect driving?
Drowsiness is a specific state of mind when a person is more than just tired. They’re less attentive, have a slower reaction time, and have more difficulty in making decisions. When a person is drowsy, thinking is impaired, and decisions the person would have made after sufficient rest would not be in alignment with the ones they made while exhausted.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that in sleep-related crashes involving a single vehicle there was no evidence of the driver braking or attempting to stop the crash. Driving while drowsy makes an accident twice as likely, and more likely to result in severe injuries or fatalities.
Preventing Driver Fatigue
The best way to prevent fatigue is to get adequate rest. One way to prevent drowsy driving is to not use medications that cause drowsiness. Truckers must be careful not to use over-the-counter medications, such as Benadryl, that can make them tired. They should also avoid using prescribed medications that can make them sleepy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also advised trucking companies to provide adequate breaks for drivers so they can rest.
Driver Fatigue Statistics
In 2009, approximately 730 of all fatal motor vehicle crashes and 30,000 of all crashes with non-fatal injuries involved drowsy drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A survey of 150,000 adults in 19 states and the District of Columbia revealed that 4% of respondents admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel within the last 30 days.
When You Have Been Injured In An Accident
If you have been injured in a trucking accident that involved a drowsy driver then it’s important to know your legal rights after an accident, and to hire a successful, aggressive personal injury lawyer. An attorney will fight for the liable party, whether it’s the truck driver or their employer, to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and your pain and suffering. Don’t delay in calling an attorney. Each state has a statute of limitations that restricts how long you have to report an accident and file a personal injury claim. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the better your chances are of getting the compensation you need.