18 Sep Truckers Beware: Drowsy Driving
You may well know the feeling of driving-induced drowsiness. It can come during the long stretch of a cross-country road trip or at the close of a big day. It starts with heavy eyes, a yawn or two, and can lead to falling asleep at the wheel. And in this instance, you and those with whom you share the road face serious danger. This is the risk you take when you drive without sufficient rest. For truck drivers, such a common hazard should be met with special attention.
Trucks and Drowsy Driving:
A drowsy driving accident involving commercial trucks and big rigs pose the most danger as they are more likely to be catastrophic or fatal. This is problematic considering that truck drivers face the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel. With pressures to meet strict deadlines and incentives to deliver ahead of schedule, truckers may push their limits and forgo necessary sleep.
In response to this sleepiness epidemic among truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created an hours of service schedule for all truck drivers. It states that a driver can not exceed 11 hours of work and only after ten consecutive hours of off-duty rest. However, these limits are also pushed and often ignored.
How Drowsiness Affects Driving:
According to research from UCLA, an estimated 100,000 car accidents are the result of drowsy driving every year in the US. This report does not just reflect instances wherein the driver fell completely asleep. Simply feeling sleepy can limit your ability to operate a vehicle safely. With impaired judgment, a lack in reaction time, and compromised cognition, drowsiness can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
So, what should be done to remedy fatigued and ultimately, dangerous driving? First, you must take note of the signs that point to your fatigue. These include:
- Frequent yawning and blinking
- Heavy eyelids
- Trouble recalling the last few miles you drove
- Drifting into another lane
- Missing an exit
- Running over a rumble strip and drifting into the shoulder
Upon noticing any number of these indicative signs, pull over immediately and get some rest. No deadline or destination is worth the risk you take when driving with insufficient sleep. And though coffee, music, cold air, and food can help, recognize the necessity of sleep. Its benefit to your driving abilities can not be substituted or ignored. To maintain the safety of yourself and those around you, make sure to get sufficient sleep!
If you have been involved in a truck accident due to the negligent actions or lack of sleep of the driver, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Please do not hesitate to contact us at The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro for expert legal counsel and advisement. We are prepared to advocate for you and road safety everywhere.