Anyone can become fatigued when driving, but this is very common among commercial truckers who spend many consecutive hours behind the wheel.
While there are many causes of truck driver fatigue, these are among the most common:
- Sleep disorders: For example, sleep apnea is known to cause high levels of fatigue, both during the day and at night. Since sleep apnea makes it difficult for a person to get the necessary amount of uninterrupted sleep, significant fatigue is a side effect.
- Drug, alcohol or prescription medication use: Most types of illegal drugs and alcohol can cause fatigue. Many prescription medications also have this side effect.
- Sleeping in the truck: Truckers who travel long distances typically have access to a sleeper berth. This allows them to get rest when they're too tired to drive or required by law to take a break. The issue with a sleeper berth is that it doesn't always provide the best environment for restful sleep. Therefore, while a trucker thinks they're well-rested, this may not actually be the case.
As a driver of a passenger vehicle, keep a close watch on the commercial trucks in close proximity to you. If you notice any sign that the driver is drowsy, such as swerving or drifting, create as much space between your vehicles as possible.
If you're injured in an accident with a truck, call 911 to request help. Once you receive treatment, read the police report, review your insurance policy and file a claim. Do whatever it takes to protect your legal rights and seek compensation for your injuries.