Truck drivers face a high risk of accidents related to drowsy or distracted driving. While hauling goods across long stretches of interstate highways, they must often complete their runs within restrictive timeframes. As noted by Bankrate.com, driver fatigue may become worsened by stress, interrupted sleep or medications. Overall, the National Safety Council reports that drowsiness causes approximately 100,000 vehicle crashes each year.
Distracted driving also contributes to roadway accidents. An estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that at any time of the day or night at least 6,660,000 vehicles on the road have a distracted driver behind the wheel.
How drowsiness contributes to motor vehicle accidents
Drivers working late or “graveyard” shifts may experience higher rates of drowsiness because of the body’s release of the hormone melatonin at night. The hormone regulates a healthy sleep-wake cycle. As noted by the CDC, remaining awake for 18 hours has an effect similar to driving with a .05% blood alcohol content level.
After not sleeping for extended periods, a driver may find it hard to remain focused on the road ahead. Some drivers may even fall asleep. The CDC notes that approximately one out of every 25 drivers over 18 admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in a 30-day period.
Signs a truck operator may be drowsy or distracted
A truck driver tailgating or drifting in and out of lanes may not have had enough sleep to operate the vehicle safely. According to CDLjobs.com, a truck swerving suddenly or a driver eating or holding a cell phone may indicate a distracted operator.
An accident involving a truck or a large commercial vehicle may cause serious injuries to the occupants of a passenger vehicle. It may require legal action to recover from the harm and suffering caused.