If you aren’t a truck driver yourself, or don’t know any personally, you might not be aware of how grueling their schedules can be. Depending on the company, truck drivers are often pressured to work long hours and stick to a delivery schedule, no matter how tired they are. Even though there are plenty of federal and state laws to prevent this, you may find yourself sharing the road with an exhausted truck driver in Ohio. Just how dangerous are drowsy truck drivers?
Drowsy Driving Accidents
Although it’s impossible to fully determine how many truck driving accidents were due to fatigue, it’s safe to say that they are common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that nearly 700 people were killed thanks to fatigue-related incidents in 2019. As you might imagine, even more were injured in accidents.
Drowsy driving is especially prevalent in truck drivers, thanks to their schedules. First, they often work long hours, and if there’s no good place to pull over and rest, they might have to keep going until they find a suitable truck stop. Second, they often work overnight, which interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms. Our bodies are naturally programmed to want to sleep between midnight and 6:00 A.M., which means they’ll do just about everything they can to get the rest they need to continue functioning.
Drowsy Driving Effects
Is truck driver fatigue as dangerous as drunk driving? Unfortunately, some studies indicate it’s even worse. Most fatigued drivers have no idea how impaired they are, so they keep driving.
The CDC states that drowsy driving is very much like drinking alcohol. If you’ve been awake for 18 hours, you’ll have the coordination, judgment, and reaction time of someone with a 0.05 BAC. If you’ve been awake for 24 hours, that jumps to similarities of 0.1 BAC—higher than the legal limit in all states.
In addition to these delayed reaction times, poor coordination and impaired judgment, you must consider that truck drivers operate vehicles weighing multiple tons. Unfortunately, when a big rig is involved, injuries are almost always severe—or deadly.
That’s why it’s so important to drive only when you’re well-rested. If you think of fatigue as an impairment like alcohol, it’s much easier to avoid. And, of course, if you’re on the road in the wee hours of the morning, take care to give truck drivers a wide berth.
Discuss Your Case with an Ohio Accident Attorney Today
Have you been injured due to a drowsy truck driver? I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at 877.944.4373 today to find out who we can hold responsible for your pain, suffering, lost wages, medical bills and more.