Truck drivers have an important and difficult job. You and many other drivers may often see them as a nuisance or fear the harm they could cause if a crash occurs, but truckers often have grueling, long shifts on the roads of Georgia and across the country. Unfortunately, these long shifts could contribute to prolonged periods of fatigue.

Fatigue and drowsiness are serious dangers to drivers and other travelers. In fact, approximately 100,000 crashes occur every year due to drowsy driving. When this type of accident involves a tractor-trailer, you can likely imagine the damage that could occur.

Fatigue likely for truck drivers

Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented regulations regarding the number of hours truck drivers can be on the road and the number of hours of rest they must have between shifts, these regulations do not guarantee that a truck driver will not bend the rules. In fact, some employers may offer incentives for truckers to get to their destinations before their intended deadline, which could contribute to rule breaking and extended hours on the road.

If a truck driver experiences drowsiness while driving, he or she is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. Drowsiness can affect a person’s abilities much like the consumption of alcohol or other impairing substances. For instance, drowsiness can slow a person’s reaction times, impair judgment, slow reflexes and impair cognition. As a result, a serious accident could occur without a moment’s notice because the truck driver may not have time to react and avoid it.

Avoiding drowsy driving

All drivers, including truck drivers and you, could avoid drowsy driving and prevent fatigue from contributing to a serious crash. If a driver begins yawning in excess or blinking often, those signals may indicate a need to stop driving and get some rest. Additionally, if a driver begins drifting out of the correct lane or cannot remember the last few miles traveled, it is wise to pull off the road safely to rest.

Even if you do your part to avoid drowsy driving, you could still end up the victim of a crash caused by a drowsy truck driver. Unfortunately, a crash with a tractor-trailer could cause catastrophic injuries that could prove life changing. If you do suffer harm in this type of event, you may want to explore your legal options for seeking compensation from the driver and truck company considered liable.