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Fatigue and Truck Driving

Some research suggests sleep problems and fatigue can be at least a partial cause in up to 40% of all commercial truck crashes. Polls of truck drivers in 2006 found 13% reported falling asleep while driving and 65% reported signs of drowsiness.

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Fatigued driving in Homestead, Miami, and other communities is a serious concern because it can lead to pedestrian accidents and traffic collisions. Fatigue behind the wheel can cause many concerning issues, according to safety experts, including:

  • Confusion
  • Distraction
  • Slower reaction time
  • Inattentiveness
  • Higher risk of driving errors
  • Failure to complete routines
  • Lower motivation
  • Mood swings or irritability

For truck drivers, fatigue can be an especial concern for a few reasons:

  • Truck drivers may drive for long periods of time and may drive on highways, and research has shown monotonous driving can increase the risk of drowsiness
  • Truck drivers have a sedentary job, which can put them at an increased risk for obesity and sleep apnea, which can contribute to dangerously poor quality of sleep
  • Truck drivers may feel pressured to work long hours in order to meet delivery deadlines, meaning they may be encouraged to drive longer than may be safe.
  • Truck drivers may be driving overnight or early in the morning to make a delivery deadline, and this is when we tend to feel sleepiest.
  • Truck drivers are often shift workers, which means their sleep schedules may get disrupted.
  • Truck drivers may feel the effects of on-the-go food choices, stress, and frequent travel, all of which can disrupt sleep.
  • Truck drivers may not always have the options to make the best sleep choices. Truck drivers may need to sleep in their cabs, in motels near highways, or during the day. These factors may affect sleep quality. In addition, if rest stops do not offer adequate parking spaces or spots for fatigued drivers, drivers may have no option but to continue on, seeking a safe place to rest. This can also contribute to fatigue.

Drivers in Miami and other parts of South Florida may also need to contend with bright sun and hot weather, which can make symptoms of drowsiness worse. Even when truck drivers work hard to stay safe on the roads, they may find issues outside their control affect their ability to secure safe sleep.

Hours of Service (HoS) regulations attempt to limit how much time drivers can stay on the roads before they take breaks. However, even with these federal rules in place there are serious collisions each year involving fatigued drivers.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, you will want to contact a personal injury attorney in Hollywood or your community so a thorough investigation can be launched to determine whether fatigued driving played a role in your crash. You can always contact Flaxman Law Group if you’d like a free, confidential, no obligation consultation in your South Florida community.