Commercial truck accidents can cause extensive damage and injuries to the driver and others on the road. While some people believe these accidents are caused by reckless actions, such as distracted driving, fatigue is actually one of the top causes of trucking accidents.
Fatigued driving is just as (if not more) dangerous than drinking and driving. In fact, according to one study, around 13% of commercial truck drivers interviewed after a wreck claimed to feel fatigued when their accident occurred.
Factors that increase the possibility of fatigued driving
It’s important for truck drivers to pay attention to how they feel when driving. This is the best way to prevent fatigued driving. Things that increase the potential of fatigued driving and, therefore, the likelihood of an accident include:
- Driving when they are naturally drowsy between 12 AM and 6 AM and 2 PM to 4 PM
- Going to bed on an empty stomach or with a heavy meal can increase next-day drowsiness
- Failing to rest and reset when they start to feel less alert or drowsy
- Taking medication or a combo of medications that increases drowsiness
Some drivers also rely on various “tricks” to try and stay awake. This includes things like drinking coffee, smoking, opening the window or turning up the radio. These are not going to cure drowsiness and can make a driver feel okay when they really need some rest.
Understanding your rights after a truck accident
Unfortunately, fatigued driving among commercial drivers is extremely common. This is due to trucking companies encouraging drivers to meet strict deadlines and other factors that make them remain on the road longer than they should. If you are involved in a commercial truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, you have rights and protecting them requires you to act and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.