Drowsy driving is one form of negligent behavior that drivers may not understand well, and as a result, its impact tends to be underestimated. But perhaps a drowsy driver operating a big rig crashed into you in California, leaving you with serious injuries. Drowsiness and long-haul trucking often go together.
Why truckers can be so fatigued
Drowsiness arises from lack of sleep, and truckers can be guilty of this simply because of the long hours they spend behind the wheel. The law limits a shift to 11 consecutive hours, after which truck drivers must spend 10 consecutive hours away from the wheel. To make matters worse, many truckers violate this rule and drive longer to meet deadlines. They may drive late into the night or early in the morning, too, when their body is naturally more tired.
Factors that increase drowsiness include illnesses, even colds and the flu; lack of rest during those times of illness; and the use of drowsiness-inducing medications. Then, there’s alcohol use, which 50% of all the truckers admit to. Drowsiness is a guaranteed consequence of alcohol intoxication, especially when combined with drug use.
Impaired attention and other effects
A drowsy driver is less capable of paying attention to the road and to the surroundings, such as a car pulling in front of them. They are less likely to notice vehicles in their blind spot or to take note of changes in traffic or speed limits. Drowsy drivers also become slower in their reflexes and cannot make swift decisions. In serious cases, fatigued drivers fall asleep, losing complete control over their vehicle.
Finding a lawyer for your injury case
Like many victims of motor vehicle accidents, you may be wondering if you can file a personal injury claim. A lawyer may help you sort through the complexities whether the defendant is a trucking company or an insurance company if the trucker is an owner-operator. You may leave all settlement negotiations to your lawyer, giving you time to focus on recovering.