Driver fatigue can be a serious concern for truck drivers and may result in truck crashes involving injuries and fatalities to victims. Fatigued truck driving can be dangerous for truckers and the vehicles they share the roadway with. Truck driver fatigue can be caused by a lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous activities related to work or unrelated to work or a combination of factors. One study found that 13 percent of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their truck accident.
It is important for truck drivers to maintain good safety habits and to avoid truck driver fatigue. Truck drivers should ensure that they get enough sleep and may want to avoid driving during naturally drowsy periods of the day between midnight and 6:00 am and 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Driving while drowsy for anyone can impair the driver's response time and increase the change of being in an accident, which can be especially dangerous for truck drivers because of the tremendous size and weight disparity of trucks when compared to passenger vehicles and other vehicles they share the roadways with.
It is also important for truck drivers to maintain a healthy diet, which can help their overall health but also help them stay alert on the roadways. Skipping meals or irregular meal times can lead to drowsiness, which can result in truck accidents. Additionally, drivers should take naps when needed and make sure they are alert before returning to the roadway. Truck drivers should avoid medications that may make them drowsy, recognize the signs and dangers of fatigue and not rely on alertness tricks to keep awake.
Truck drivers who are not well rested and are fatigues may experience slower reaction times, reduced attention, memory lapses, lack of awareness, mood changes and reduced judgment. When a negligent or fatigued truck driver has caused harm to victims, legal options are available to hold the driver accountable and compensate victims for the physical, financial and emotional harm they have suffered.