Fatigue is a major problem for anyone who drives a vehicle, but it can be devastating for a person who drives for a living. Long haul truckers face a unique problem when they are trying to deal with fatigue. They have loads that need to be delivered to clients in a timely manner, so they might not feel able to just stop when they need to.
It is imperative that trucking companies operate in a manner that enables trucker to get sleep when they need it. The impacts of sleep loss are similar to those of alcohol, which is troubling. A person who has two nights in a row in which they get five hours of sleep will become impaired. If the person is awake for 24 hours, they will be impaired in a manner equivalent to a person with a blood alcohol concentration of .10%.
What’s the issue with truckers and sleep?
Federal regulations limit how long truckers can drive. They can be behind the wheel for 11 hours per 24-hour period. They can also work an additional three hours on non-driving tasks. That means they could be driving at the end of a 14-hour workday, which could be exhausting.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. When someone’s only allotted 10 hours off, which is what’s left when a trucker puts in a 14-hour day and is the minimum number of hours that must elapse between driving shifts, they might not be able to get enough sleep once they handle other things they need to do like eating and bathing. This can lead to a sleep deficit, which contributes to fatigue.
What are the other factors that lead to trucker fatigue?
Other factors that truckers may deal with include driving at night when they’d normally be asleep and having to deal with driving on familiar roads. They may also drive during the body’s natural rest time that occurs from 2 to 4 in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, one out of four truckers note that within the past month, they have fallen asleep at the wheel. This is most common on long haul trips. Every instance of a trucker falling asleep while they drive has the potential to be a tragedy.
Individuals who are struck by a fatigued driver might opt to pursue a claim for compensation for the damages they have to deal with.