Physical exhaustion and fatigue affects many aspects of our everyday lives.
It affects our alertness, our cognitive skills, our thought processing,
memory, reaction time, and even mood. Naturally, fatigue also affects
motor skills, especially our ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
While no one should drive while fatigued, this is especially the case with
semi-truck drivers because they are driving massive machines that can
do a lot of damage. In fact, truck driver fatigue is such a safety concern,
that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has developed
strict regulations and dedicated web pages to the topic.
FMCA Urges Truckers to Avoid Drowsy Driving
The FMCSA’s webpage, “CMV Driving Tips – Driver Fatigue,” says: "Fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion
that impairs performance. Driver fatigue may be due to a lack of adequate
sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities, or
a combination of other factors. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study
(LTCCS) reported that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers
were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash.”
Because truck driver fatigue can lead to serious injuries and fatalities,
the FMCSA developed what are called
Hours of Service Rules, which limit how much a trucker can
drive without rest. For example, for property-carrying truck drivers, they cannot drive more
than 11 hours at a time, after spending 10 hours off duty. The problem
is that historically, truck drivers have been known to ignore these limits,
thereby dramatically increasing the chances of a drowsy driving crash.
According to the
National Sleep Foundation, these are the signs of drowsy driving:
- Heavy eyelids
- Trouble focusing
- Drifting from a lane
- Repeated yawning
- Trouble keeping one’s head up
- Missing a traffic sign or exit
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles that were driven
If you see a truck driver displaying these worrisome behaviors while behind
the wheel, it could mean that he or she is driving while fatigued and
could fall asleep at the wheel. Our advice is to call 911 and inform the
authorities – you could save someone’s life!
No Texting for Truck Drivers Nationwide
If you were injured in a
truck accident, please
contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law to meet with a Hackensack truck accident lawyer for free.