Plenty of people dismissively assume that they could do the job a commercial trucker does. After all, they drive every day, so they imagine that driving all day wouldn’t be that much of a challenge. However, commercial transportation work is incredibly demanding.
The schedules are unforgiving and often don’t take traffic collisions or bad weather into account. The pay is good, but it comes at the cost of performing a very stressful and often physical job. Commercial drivers are often behind the wheel for 10 or more hours in a single shift. They may have no choice but to continue driving until they reach their destination, no matter how tired or sore they feel.
Fatigue is actually a serious concern in the trucking industry and a major contributing factor to many collisions. How prevalent is trucker fatigue in the commercial transportation industry?
The federal government recognizes driver fatigue as a threat
The impact of drowsiness on a truck driver’s performance is so severe that the federal government has Hours of Service regulations in place for the protection of the public. Many safety experts will compare the effects of exhaustion to the impact of alcohol.
A driver who is drowsy could fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of the vehicle. They may also take longer to react to something unexpected, have a harder time making the right decision and experience more difficulty remaining focused. Truck drivers who have been at the wheel for too long can easily cause a crash that may destroy someone else’s vehicle, leave someone else with permanent injuries or even cause a fatality.
What rights do those affected by drowsy truck drivers have?
The federal Hours of Service regulations exist for the protection of the public, and if a truck driver violated those rules before a crash, the people affected by the collision may have a straightforward claim for insurance compensation.
In some cases, it may also be possible to pursue a civil lawsuit against either the driver who made bad choices or their employer who forced them into a position where they had to drive while drowsy. Identifying and addressing safety concerns that contribute to commercial trucking crashes can help you stay safer on the road and make the right choices after a crash.