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Truck Driver Fatigue

The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is a severe problem in the trucking industry, with far-reaching consequences for both the drivers themselves and those who share the roads with them. Every year, thousands of drowsy driving incidents occur on American highways involving large trucks, often resulting in fatalities or serious injuries.

In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver fatigue has been cited as a contributing factor in approximately 13% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks.

This sobering statistic is due, in part, to the fact that long-haul truck drivers often work grueling hours and are expected to drive for extended periods without adequate rest. Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle can lead to frequent bouts of fatigue, which can impair driving ability and increase the risk of a crash occurring.

The effects of driver fatigue on highway safety are well documented, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a need to address the problem. By understanding the causes and effects of truck driver fatigue, we can start to put measures in place to reduce the risk of drowsy driving crashes.

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If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a large truck, the truck accident attorneys at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci are here to help. We understand how devastating these types of accidents can be, and we’ll fight hard to get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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What is Truck Driver Fatigue?

Truck driver fatigue is a state of physical tiredness and mental exhaustion that can make it difficult for a truck driver to concentrate on the road.

Driver Fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs the performance of a commercial motor vehicle driver.

Truck driver fatigue can have a significant impact on safety, as it can impair a person’s ability to concentrate and make decisions. Fatigued drivers may find it difficult to stay focused on the task of driving for extended periods of time, leading to slower reaction times or even falling asleep at the wheel.

Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue

The most obvious cause of truck driver fatigue is a lack of sleep, but there are other factors that can contribute as well. These include:

  • Long hours spent behind the wheel without adequate rest breaks;
  • Poor diet and nutrition habits;
  • Uncomfortable sleeping conditions, such as sleeping in the cab of the truck;
  • Stress and anxiety caused by tight deadlines or challenging driving routes;
  • Not getting enough sleep while on the road;
  • Medications that can cause drowsiness; and
  • Undiagnosed sleep disorders.
truck accident due to drowsy driving

Effects of Truck Driver Fatigue

The effects of truck driver fatigue can be serious and wide-ranging, including:

Reduced alertness and concentration:

Fatigue can significantly reduce the ability to concentrate and react quickly, leading to dangerous driving conditions on the highway.

Increased risk of truck accidents:

Drowsy drivers are more likely to make mistakes that can cause serious accidents and fatalities.

Slowed reaction time:

Fatigue reduces reflexes, making it difficult for a driver to respond quickly in an emergency situation.

Diminished decision-making skills:

Fatigue impairs judgment, making it difficult for a driver to make sound decisions on the road.

Reduced vigilance:

When a driver is fatigued, they may be less likely to pay attention to the road and other drivers around them.

Preventing Truck Driver Fatigue

There are several steps that truck and bus drivers and their employers can take to help prevent driver fatigue:

Adequate sleep:

Commercial truck drivers should ensure they get enough rest before a long haul by getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Inadequate sleep will lead to dangerous fatigue.

Regular breaks:

Truck drivers should take regular rest stops throughout their shifts to reduce the risk of fatigue.

Eating right:

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding foods that are high in sugar or caffeine can help maintain energy levels.


Exercise helps promote alertness, so drivers should try to incorporate some form of physical activity into their routine if possible.

Health check-ups:

Drivers should see their doctor for regular check-ups to ensure they are in good physical health and that any potential health issues, such as sleep apnea, are addressed.


Trucking companies should provide comprehensive fatigue management education for their drivers so they understand the risks associated with drowsy driving and how to reduce them.

Only the truck driver can hold themselves accountable for the risks of driving while fatigued, but employers and other stakeholders in the industry can help create a safe environment by taking steps to reduce trucker fatigue. By educating drivers about the dangers of drowsy driving and providing them with the resources they need to stay alert, we can help ensure that our highways remain safe for everyone.

truck overturned due to an accident on the road

Laws & Regulations for Truck Drivers

In addition to efforts made by individual companies, there are also laws and regulations in place to help combat truck driver fatigue. The FMCSA has adopted a number of measures designed to ensure that drivers get adequate rest before getting behind the wheel, such as Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules which limit the amount of time a driver can drive without taking a break. The hours of service regulations also require truck drivers to keep detailed logs of their driving time and rest periods.

The FMCSA has also implemented Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is a national database that contains records of commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol test results. This helps employers stay up-to-date on any potential issues related to their drivers’ mental health and well-being.

They have also implemented mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs), which track a driver’s hours behind the wheel and alert them when it is time to take a break.

By enforcing these rules, companies can ensure that their drivers get the rest they need in order to stay safe on the road.

semi truck driving on the road

What Should I Do if I Suspect Fatigued Driving as a Cause of a Truck Accident?

If you have been involved in a truck accident and believe fatigue may have been a factor, it is important to speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help investigate the cause of the crash. The lawyer will be able to review the evidence and determine whether or not a fatigued truck driver was a contributing factor in the crash. If so, they may be able to pursue legal action against the driver or trucking company and help you recover compensation for your losses.

Damages Recovered In a Trucking Accident Case

If an attorney is able to prove that a truck driver was operating while fatigued or in violation of any federal regulations, they may be able to pursue damages on your behalf. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci: Your Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers

At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we understand that truck accidents can cause serious and life-altering injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident caused by fatigued driving, our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to help. We will work closely with you to build the strongest case possible and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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