The size and weight of 18-wheelers present enough of a concern to drivers in smaller vehicles. Many people either give semis a wide birth or pass them quickly in order to avoid them. Looking behind you and seeing one barreling toward you may cause you to pick up your speed.
Most truck drivers remain diligent and vigilant behind the wheel because they understand that they alone keep the large vehicle in check. The slightest mistake could lead to disaster. That's why it's crucial for truck drivers not to get behind the wheel when fatigued. One study found that every year 78,000 injuries and 1,200 deaths occur on the country's roadways due to tired truckers.
The following factors often contribute to a truck driver's fatigue:
- Sleep apnea
- Driving overnight
- Long driving schedules
- Inadequate rest
The federal government heavily regulates the trucking industry and imposes certain limitations on how long truckers can operate without rest. If a driver fails to adhere to these regulations, the potential for an accident rises dramatically.
The effects of sleep deprivation and fatigue on the brain
Our bodies require sleep in order to function properly. Without it, the following effects on the brain could occur:
- Memory loss
- Decreased attention span
- Mood swings
- Poor use of judgment
- Declined decision-making processes
Is this someone you want driving next to you in a multiple ton death machine? A trucker experiencing these effects or falling asleep while behind the wheel makes him or her dangerous. Of course, anyone can suffer from these effects while driving, but most people don't drive the distances or large vehicles that truckers do.
Crashes involving semi-trucks tend to cause more damage to both people and property. Serious injuries and deaths are not uncommon in these crashes. News reports of catastrophic truck accidents appear in numerous media outlets.
Was the trucker in your accident tired?
If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in an accident with a big rig, you may seek compensation for your financial losses and other damages. Evidence that the trucker suffered from fatigue may disappear quickly if there is a delay. Insurance and trucking companies tend to circle the wagons as quickly as possible when crashes occur for which their drivers may prove responsible.
You need a legal ally on your side to retrieve the appropriate evidence quickly. A thorough investigation often includes piecing together the truckers' days prior to the accident. If the investigation reveals driver fatigue, it could help establish negligence in a civil claim, which would increase the chances of you receiving the compensation you deserve.