The Trenton Freeway is filled with truckers making cross-country trips for the purpose of delivering goods. One of the consequences of these long distance trips is a truck driver experiencing truck driver fatigue and falling victim to drowsy driving.
Truck driver fatigue and drowsy driving are both growing and serious problems for truck drivers and those who are affected by a lack of focus at the wheel. Drowsy driving is so dangerous, in fact, that the National Highway Traffic Administration has reported that drowsy driving resulted in approximately 2.2 to 2.6 percent of total fatal crashes between 2005 and 2009.
What is truck driver fatigue?
Fatigue is not uncommon among truck drivers expected to drive for long hours or to make long distance trips. Truck driver fatigue occurs when a driver becomes too tired to maintain proper focus, and can even lead to a driver falling asleep at the wheel. This obviously has dangerous repercussions for the driver and others who share the road.
Additionally, truck drivers may be overworked and expected to meet deadlines. In some cases, a truck driver may be tempted to skip sleep in order to make a delivery on time. While new hours-of-service regulations have been established in hopes of combatting truck driver fatigue, it is still a pressing problem. Drivers who violate the hours-of-service rules could face penalties in addition to liability for an accident.
How Truck Driver Fatigue Can be Deadly
Truck driver fatigue is incredibly dangerous. Not only does drowsiness compromise alertness, driver fatigue can also result in a driver falling asleep at the wheel. Some experts argue that drowsy driving can be similarly dangerous as drunk driving. In both cases, fatigue or intoxication can compromise mental alertness. If a driver does not have complete focus, the vehicle may swerve, hit another vehicle, veer off of the road, or result in another type of vehicular collision.
A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine cited data indicating that truck drivers hoping to combat fatigue may attempt to fight off sleepiness by taking drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine.
According to the study authors, amphetamines can cause myriad negative repercussions including:
- hallucinations; and
- a change in reaction time or perception.
The authors indicated that approximately eight percent of truck drivers tested positive for amphetamines like speed or ‘ice.’ Conversely, truck drivers who use stimulants to stay awake often then need help falling asleep. Marijuana seems to be the drug of choice for many, an illegal drug still in multiple states.
Contact an Attorney after an Accident in Trenton, New Jersey
Truck driver fatigue can be deadly or cause serious injury to an innocent driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist. If you’ve been involved in an accident that was the result of a truck driver’s drowsy driving, seek representation with an attorney.
You may hold the negligent truck driver’s employer liable for damages like:
- medical bills;
- lost wages;
- pain and suffering; and
- more depending on the circumstances of your case.