Besides drinking and driving, one of the most dangerous things a commercial driver can engage in is drowsy driving. This occurs in long-haul truck drivers, who may be pressured to drive for many hours to make more money. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of drowsy driving for commercial drivers and what to do if you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver.
What Happens When a Truck Driver is Tired?
A tired truck driver can:
- Experience blurred vision and reduced response time
- Miss road signs, especially in unfamiliar areas or areas where there is road construction
- Experience difficulty paying attention to the road, increasing the risk that the driver will drift off the side of the road into a guardrail or another vehicle
- Experience difficulty making sound judgments behind the wheel, including when to slow down, speed up, and stop
Fatigued driving is not much different from driving under the influence of alcohol, with the exception of being unable to measure the “amount” of fatigue that a driver is experiencing like you can measure how much alcohol is in a driver’s bloodstream.
Fatigued Drivers May Be Breaking the Law
There are certain laws that are in place for commercial truck drivers to avoid drowsy driving, including but not limited to:
- A driver must take a minimum 30 minute break for every 8 hours of driving
- Cannot be “on duty” for more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period, whether consecutive or not
- Must be “off duty” for a minimum of 10 hours in a 24 hour period, whether consecutive or not
Although these regulations are designed to keep drivers from driving drowsy, some drivers alter driving logs or falsify information. This is because most commercial truck drivers are paid per mile, not per hour driven. The more miles they drive in a 24 hour time period, the more money they make. This leads to poor decisions like driving drowsy and even speeding.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a truck accident that you suspect was caused by a fatigued driver, don’t hesitate to get an attorney involved. You can bet that the truck driving company already has attorneys of their own working hard to discredit your claim. Contact Appalachian Injury Law for a consultation to discuss your case in detail by calling (706) 515-1995 or (800) 393-8595.