Getting behind the wheel while drowsy creates dangers for all Tennessee drivers, but fatigue can be a particular problem for truckers. Because of the demands of the job and the size of the vehicle, truck drivers can be more vulnerable to causing serious accidents than other motorists.
Demands of the job
While there are many safety regulations in the trucking industry designed to reduce hazards and allow time for rest, truck drivers can still operate for as many as 11 hours after 10 hours of rest. In some cases, this can be inadequate, particularly if the driver is already struggling with illness or fatigue. The ever-changing nature of shift work can exacerbate this fatigue. Drivers may struggle to sleep when they do get time off and then find themselves exhausted once they are on the road.
The obvious consequence of falling asleep at the wheel is not the only effect that fatigue can have on a driver. Sleepiness slows down reaction time and affects judgment in a similar manner to alcohol. All of these effects can lead to serious truck accidents. While drowsy drivers of other types of vehicles may suffer the same consequences, trucks have larger blind spots and are harder to control, and this could increase the likelihood of injuries or fatalities in truck accidents.
After an accident
It can be difficult to track how often drowsy driving causes truck accidents because this can rely on self-reporting. However, if you are involved in an accident with a truck driver, you should follow the same steps that you would after an accident with any other vehicle, including reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company and making notes of as many details as possible. It is also important to be mindful of the fact that you may not have symptoms from some injuries until days or even weeks later, particularly when it comes to traumatic brain injury. Awareness of the dangers caused by fatigued truck drivers may help you drive more defensively and avoid these types of accidents and injuries.