Tractor-trailer trucks are much larger and heavier than most other vehicles, and because of this, people in passenger cars and trucks are likely to suffer serious injuries in truck accidents. There are a variety of factors that can lead to collisions between commercial trucks and other vehicles, but one of the most common is driver fatigue. Truck drivers who attempt to drive while drowsy may nod off while behind the wheel, causing them to lose control of their vehicle. By working with a skilled attorney to demonstrate that a truck accident was caused by driver fatigue, victims can make sure they receive financial compensation for their injuries.
Issues That Can Lead to Driver Fatigue
There are multiple reasons why truck drivers may become drowsy and be unable to drive safely, including:
- Long hours on the road – Truck drivers have strict limits on their “hours of service,” and they are required to take regular breaks and get sleep in between driving shifts. Even when abiding by these rules, drivers can become fatigued after spending a long time behind the wheel, especially if their employers are pushing them to meet deadlines. However, some trucking companies take things a step further and encourage drivers to violate the hours of service regulations or falsify driving logs so they can make deliveries more quickly. This will make it even more likely that drivers will be drowsy.
- Driving at night – Truck drivers may be required to drive at irregular hours, which can affect their sleep patterns. Even if drivers are fully rested, they may be less alert when driving during the nighttime, especially after midnight, and they will be more likely to become drowsy if they drive at night at the end of a long shift behind the wheel.
- Medical conditions and dietary issues – If a driver suffers from sleep apnea or other conditions that affect their quality of sleep, they may not be fully rested even when taking the proper breaks. A driver’s sleep can also be affected by their diet, and they may not be able to get enough rest if they go to sleep on an empty stomach or after eating a large meal.
- Medications – Some prescription drugs can cause truck drivers to become drowsy or affect their ability to control their vehicle. These drugs can be especially dangerous when combined with alcohol or controlled substances. Certain over-the-counter medications can also cause drowsiness, such as cold or allergy medications.
- Ineffective “cures” for drowsiness – Truck drivers may notice that they are getting drowsy, but rather than stopping and taking a break, they may attempt a variety of “tricks” meant to help them stay alert while driving. However, methods such as drinking coffee, rolling down the window, or playing loud music on the radio are not effective ways to combat fatigue, and even if they offer momentary relief, they will not help a driver maintain the proper level of alertness.
Contact Our Appleton Truck Crash Attorneys
If you have suffered injuries in a collision with a commercial truck, the attorneys of Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. can help determine whether driver fatigue played a role in the truck accident. We will work to help you recover compensation from a negligent truck driver and their employer, ensuring that you will have the financial resources to address all the ways you have been affected by your injuries and damages. To arrange a complimentary consultation, contact our Green Bay truck accident lawyers at 920-739-7366.