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Lakeland Family & Divorce Attorney / Blog / Motor Vehicle Accidents / Driver fatigue is a major contributor to truck accidents

Driver fatigue is a major contributor to truck accidents

Many in Florida would agree that it is through the hard work of semi-truck drivers that our economy keeps going. We depend on truckers to deliver goods across the country so we can see the items we want on store shelves. However, some truckers take risks in doing so, specifically if they drive while fatigued. Drowsy driving can easily lead to a devastating truck accident. The following are some ways fatigue can impact a trucker’s driving abilities.

Circadian rhythm

Did you know as humans we all have a circadian rhythm? These are the hours during which our bodies are naturally sleepy. We are naturally sleepy from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and again from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Truckers who try to drive during these hours may easily become fatigued very quickly. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this type of drowsiness is amplified if a motorist has been driving for an extended period of time.

Check your medications

Many of us may take prescription medications that list drowsiness as a side effect. Even some over-the-counter medications contain a warning that they could cause drowsiness. Truckers should avoid taking these medications if they must drive. One study reports 17% of trucker respondents involved in a crash stated they had used an over-the-counter medication at the time of their truck accident. Common medications that cause drowsiness are cold medicines, antihistamines, sleeping pills and tranquilizers.

Alertness tricks rarely work

Many truckers think they have the key to beat drowsy driving. They may think drinking coffee or an energy drink, playing loud music, smoking a cigarette or rolling down the window for fresh air will keep them alert. The problem is that these tricks do not work in the long run and may give the trucker a false sense of security. This could easily lead to fatigue and a drowsy driving crash.

Ultimately, it is up to truckers to ensure they are meeting their legal duty of care and are driving safely under the circumstances. This means avoiding drowsy driving. If you are in a truck accident you will want to consider whether drowsiness was a factor so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.

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