Drivers in California share the roads with semitrucks that transport goods along state highways. Unfortunately, truck drivers are prone to make dangerous mistakes when overtired. A collision caused by truck driver fatigue can lead to devastating injuries.
What is truck driver fatigue?
Truck drivers who are fatigued are as dangerous as those who drive under the influence. Fatigued drivers have slower reflexes, difficulty making decisions and lower attention levels. However, this condition is not necessarily related to a substance like drugs or alcohol.
Instead, a fatigued truck driver is often simply too tired to operate a vehicle safely. While medication or alcohol may be a factor, the most common cause of drowsy driving among truck drivers is working too long without a break.
Why is fatigue an issue for truck drivers?
Timing plays a significant role in transportation. Businesses want to fulfill orders as soon as possible. This priority puts pressure on truck drivers who, often, are the ones who complete the final stage of the order.
Because truck drivers work under tight deadlines, they may feel pressure to push themselves beyond their limits. They may choose to forgo required breaks or drive while feeling unwell. Operating under these conditions increases the chances of fatigue.
Massive force leads to catastrophic injury
Motor vehicle accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers are extremely dangerous. Basic physics measures force as a function of mass and acceleration. Because semitrucks are large vehicles hauling tons of material, any collision will have a heavy force.
If a driver does not see the brake lights of a car, the rear-end collision can result in severe whiplash and brain and spine injuries. A truck that drifts into oncoming traffic will inflict crushing injuries on drivers and passengers. In either case, the injuries will be life-altering if not deadly.
Avoiding truck driving fatigue
Most incidents with fatigued drivers happen between midnight and six in the morning. Car drivers may want to limit the time they spend on the highway between those hours. However, the most important way to prevent this danger is to ensure that truck companies require their drivers to take the breaks they need.