Fatigue has always been an enemy of the working person. This has been especially true in American culture, with its Protestant work ethic and biblical reminders that, “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man”. With the introduction of motor vehicles, poverty-causing fatigue may be the least of our problems. Increasingly, tired drivers are becoming a liability on America’s roadways. Driver fatigue, especially among commercial truck drivers, is estimated to have been a factor in thirteen percent of commercial motor vehicle crashes.
There are many causes for truck driver fatigue. One obvious cause is truck driver work schedules. As with most work today, there is increasing pressure to do more in less time. Truck drivers may be forced to work longer hours to maintain the same standard of living. This can lead to less sleep, less quality sleep, and reliance on “tricks” to stay awake. The next cause is the human factor. There are many things drivers can do to ensure more and better quality sleep. One thing to do is for a driver to take note of their schedule. Many work days are filled with spacing out, long breaks, and general idleness. Try to reduce these as much as possible and you may find that you have more time each day than previously thought. The next thing to do is to be aware of your body. Pay attention to the times when you feel most awake and note the time of day, what you have eaten, and anything else of relevance. Try to schedule the bulk of the driving during those periods. Fatigued drivers are less likely to be aware of their surroundings, less able to react, and less likely to exercise proper judgment in driving situations. This can be especially dangerous for fellow motorists.
What to Do When Driving Fatigued
If you are a truck driver who is experiencing fatigue, recognize that this is an impaired state. Do not try to continue driving but rather, pull over and take a nap. A short nap can be more effective than a cup of coffee in improving alertness. Old tricks like caffeine, cold air, and loud music will only provide short temporary relief. If you end up in an accident as a result of driving while fatigued, stay until the police or any emergency vehicles arrive. Cooperate with the police and with your employer’s insurance company and provide them with any relevant information.
Those that have been injured by a truck driver need to seek medical help immediately and seek the advice of an attorney. An attorney will be able to evaluate your case and decide how to get the compensation you deserve from your accident.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in an accident involving a truck driver, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.