Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often more damaging and dangerous than car accidents. That’s because these trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds – resulting in catastrophic injuries and damage when involved in an accident with smaller vehicles.
Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of trucking accidents is driver fatigue or sleep deprivation. In fact, approximately 13 percent of trucking accidents are caused by driver fatigue, according to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
So why are so many truck drivers fatigued? The main causes are lack of sleep, long work hours and physical or mental overexertion. While commercial drivers are subject to federal limits on the number of hours they can drive without breaks and how many hours they can drive per week, some drivers and trucking companies resist these limits.
Sleep deprivation and/or driver fatigue is extremely dangerous because it negatively affects reaction time, coordination, reflexes and vision. In fact, sleep deprivation has been proven to cause symptoms that are very similar to driving while drunk.
Because driver fatigue is so prevalent, some trucking companies are addressing this problem more aggressively and developing safety guidelines and programs to help prevent this from happening. This is a positive trend for everyone, as the trucking industry is vital to our nation’s economy – as well as providing Americans with access to countless products and services that we all need. As such, improving safety in the trucking industry benefits everyone.