Fatigued driving is a problem that can impact all Virginia road users. However, when the driver who is overly tired is behind the wheel of a truck, it poses even greater risks of a serious accident, catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
What are some statistics on truck driver fatigue?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 40% of all truck accidents occur as a result of fatigued driving. Out of those accidents, 18% of the truck drivers admitted that they fell asleep behind the wheel.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated that on an annual basis, around 750 people are killed and another 20,000 suffer injuries due to truck accidents involving a fatigued driver.
Factors that lead to truck driver fatigue
There are many factors that can cause a trucker to become fatigued. They work very long hours and often go without breaks to rest. The time of day when they work is also a big factor. Truck drivers who work at night are at a much higher risk of becoming fatigued and getting into an accident. Many fatigued driving accidents occur between the hours of midnight and 6 AM, when fewer vehicles are on the roads.
When a truck driver has been awake for 18 or more hours, it can result in the driver becoming fatigued. Driving while overly tired is comparable to driving under the influence as it leads to serious impairment. Fatigued truck drivers have a much slower reaction time, poorer judgment and worse control over their vehicles.
If a trucker suffers from a sleep disorder, they are more likely to be fatigued and even fall asleep behind the wheel. Unfortunately, around 80% of sleep disorders are undiagnosed. This can increase the risk of a severe truck accident occurring.
Certain types of prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause fatigue, which can pose the risk of a catastrophic truck accident occurring. This is similar to the effects of driving while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.