Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. When truck drivers are running on little sleep, they may lose focus of the road ahead and have reduced reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents. Here are some of the most common causes of truck driver fatigue.
Pressure to Drive Long Hours
Truck drivers are often under immense pressure to deliver goods as quickly as possible. They are permitted to drive up to 11 hours in a 14-hour period. Trucking companies may require their drivers to spend up to 60 hours in a seven-day period on the road. After a while, all that driving can take its toll. Truck drivers may become fatigued, but still continue to drive to meet their quotas.
Use of Stimulants
It is quite common for truck drivers to use stimulants to stay awake. However, stimulants can actually make truck drivers more tired. Although these substances mask fatigue for a little while, the body still does not get the rest it needs. When the stimulants wear off, drivers may experience sudden fatigue, which can cause an accident.
Sleep apnea causes a person to temporarily stop breathing during sleep and is a common condition among truck drivers. Since people with sleep apnea experience disrupted sleep cycles, they may wake up feeling drowsy. As a result, truck drivers with sleep apnea may doze off behind the wheel and cause an accident.
Driving at Night
Some truck drivers choose to drive at night because there is less traffic. However, drowsy driving accidents are more common at night. When it is dark, the body’s internal clock thinks it’s time to sleep.
Since truck drivers spend so much time on the road, they may frequently eat from fast food restaurants and gas stations. Junk foods can cause drowsiness, ultimately increasing the risk of accidents.
How to Prove a Truck Accident Was Caused By Drowsy Driving
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a drowsy driver, it is important to show evidence that the driver was indeed falling asleep while behind the wheel. Examples of evidence may include toll receipts, truck driver hours of service from manual logbooks and hotel receipts.