What Is Trucker Fatigue, and Why Is It So Dangerous?

Inside of truck cabin

18-Wheelers play an integral role in our nation’s economy, transporting goods across state lines. Whether they’re delivering building and hazardous materials or produce and groceries, the economy would look much different without these vehicles. Despite how integral these trucks are, they can be intimidating to drive near. Because they are large and heavy, they can cause devastating injuries when involved in collisions. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are due to trucker fatigue. If injured by a drowsy driver, a Houston truck accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation and justice you deserve.

What Is Trucker Fatigue?

Though it may not seem like a tiring job, many truckers experience extreme fatigue due to the nature of driving. Because of the mundane act and repetitive nature of the job, it can be easy for drivers to become drowsy. Drivers who become tired at the wheel are much more likely to be involved in accidents. Driving tired is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Unfortunately, due to how often truck drivers are on the road, they are often impacted by extreme fatigue or exhaustion. In an effort to reduce accidents, the federal government imposed hours of service to limit how often truck drivers can travel. Truckers are prohibited from traveling more than eleven hours per day and must take, at minimum, thirty-six hours between trips if they have logged more than sixty hours in one week.

How Does It Contribute to Accidents?

Tired drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents for a number of reasons. If a trucker is exhaused, they may experience microsleeps. These are brief, seconds-long periods of unconsciousness. Though they only last for seconds, when a trucker is asleep, they cannot react to any changes in traffic, hazards, or other vehicles. As such, they may be involved in a collision.

However, tired drivers who remain awake while traveling still pose a hazard to themselves and others. When you are tired, your body is slower to react. As such, a tired trucker may have a delayed reaction to a car breaking, switching lanes, red light, or other typical occurrence on the road. Because trucks carry their weight behind them, ensuring swift and accurate breaking is crucial to prevent accidents.

Who Can Be Held Liable?

In general, a driver will be found liable if it’s determined they were asleep or drowsy behind the wheel. This is especially true when a driver purposely ignores the hour of service requirements in order to continue traveling.

If it’s discovered that a driver’s employer was forcing them to ignore the restrictions as a means of meeting or surpassing deadlines to prioritize profits, the employer can also be found liable.

At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand how devastating accidents involving trucks can be. As such, we will do everything possible to help you recover the justice and compensation you deserve. We believe the negligent driver and their employer should be held responsible if they were purposely ignoring the laws in place to keep others safe. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team today to discuss the details of your case.