Fighting For You After An Accident

The dangers of truck driver fatigue

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Trucking Accidents

America depends on truckers. They are responsible for delivering food, clothing and other items needed for survival.

Unfortunately, long hours on the road can lead to drowsy driving. How common is truck driver fatigue, and how can it be prevented?

The impact of fatigue-related accidents

Accidents involving large trucks are often severe due to the weight and size of commercial trucks. In 2021, there were 4,714 fatalities due to large truck crashes. In many cases, driver fatigue was a contributing factor. Extreme tiredness or exhaustion can impact the driver in various ways, such as:

  • Reaction time
  • Decision-making ability
  • Attention
  • Alertness

65% of truck drivers state they have felt drowsy while driving, with almost one-half admitting to falling asleep at the wheel.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established Hours of Service regulations that limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road during a 14-hour workday. The regulations allow for no more than 11 hours of driving after 10 consecutive hours off duty. However, these rules are sometimes violated due to pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines.

Advancements in technology are offering new ways to combat driver fatigue. Some companies are implementing fatigue detection systems that monitor signs of tiredness in truck drivers, such as eye movement and head position. When signs of fatigue are detected, these systems alert the driver to take a break.

Employers play a crucial role in preventing driver fatigue. They can promote a safety-first culture by ensuring realistic delivery schedules, encouraging regular breaks, and educating about the dangers of fatigued driving. 

Truck drivers also have a responsibility to prioritize rest, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and let their employers know when they are feeling too exhausted to drive. Awareness and prevention of fatigued driving can help improve the safety of everyone on the roads.