Due to the nature of their jobs, truck drivers are often required to drive at night and for long periods of time. The trucking industry is a crucial component to the American economy, yet there are strict regulations in place regarding how many hours a trucker can drive consecutively.
Fatigued driving is a serious problem, but it can be particularly dangerous for a person who is behind the wheel of a large, heavy truck. Due to the sheer size and weight of a semi truck, accidents involving these vehicles often result in extensive damage and serious injuries. If you were hurt in a truck accident in Texas, there is a chance that a fatigue is to blame.
Too tired to drive safely
While there are regulations regarding how many hours a truck driver can be on the road, and for good reason, studies show that, much of the time, fatigue actually has more to do with the time of day, not necessarily hours behind the wheel. Driver fatigue usually results from the following:
- Lack of adequate sleep
- Extended work hours
- Strenuous work activities
- Unusual work hours
- Effects from activities not work related
Fatigue is much more than just being tired. It is a physical and mental state that affects a driver's ability to react appropriately and practice safe driving. Many truckers who are fatigued demonstrate the following behaviors:
- Slower reaction time
- Following other drivers too closely
Drivers can experience extreme tiredness, even when they have had what some consider enough sleep. Sleep inertia can occur by working at odd hours or after sleeping in the berth of the truck. Weird schedules and unusual sleep habits can be just as dangerous for truckers as a serious lack of sleep.
Your accident may not be your fault
Truck drivers bear the responsibility to know when they are too tired to drive safely. However, trucking companies are also accountable for encouraging violations of industry regulations, setting unreasonable and unsafe expectations for drivers and allowing or encouraging dangerous driving practices. After an accident, you would be wise to work with a lawyer who can identify the reasons why your accident happened and what parties may be liable.
Fatigued driving may be to blame for your truck accident, and you have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. By seeking a complete evaluation of your case, you can better understand your options and secure restitution for medical care and other accident-related losses.