Why are fatigued truck drivers dangerous?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Driving a truck might fall under the heading of the proverbial thankless job. Drivers travel scores of miles to bring vital cargo to destinations. Most trucks traveling through Mississippi do so without incident, but accidents happen. Sometimes, accidents are avoidable and result from negligence. And yes, driving while fatigued reflects potentially negligent behavior.

Taking a break when driving a truck

Federal regulations require truck drivers to take breaks after driving for a specified number of hours. Trucking companies may face requirements to log the hours a driver travels to enforce compliance. Unfortunately, not everyone does their part, and drivers may continue to travel long past the point where a break proves necessary.

Why is there such emphasis on requiring breaks? A tired driver might suffer from slow reaction times and other issues known to cause motor vehicle accidents. The size and mass of a truck could lead to a horrible accident, something everyone hopes to avoid.

Other causes of truck driver fatigue

Truck drivers can suffer from drowsiness due to many factors besides not taking breaks. Even someone who sticks to the mandatory maximum time allotment could feel exhausted when working odd hours or when dealing with the flu.

And then there are more egregious reasons why a truck driver could feel fatigued. Alcohol and drug use might cause drowsiness and other problems. Drug use need not even involve anything illegal since a valid prescription medication may make someone excessively tired. Numerous over-the-counter capsules could do the same thing.

Lack of sleep happens even when someone takes necessary breaks. The science shows that going more than 24 hours without sleep may have effects similar to when BAC is at .10, well above the legal limit.