Truckers have to ensure that they are driving safely when they are on the roadways. When they don’t, occupants of other vehicles can suffer from injuries. One reason why these drivers might not be able to operate their rigs safely is that they are too fatigued to do so. This is a serious problem that must be addressed before a catastrophic injury occurs.
It is up to the employers to have protocol in place that encourages truckers to get suitable rest before they head out on a haul. There are many factors to think about when determining whether a trucker might suffer from fatigue while they are on the road.
Long shifts and little rest
Having little rest between shifts and driving for long hours can contribute to fatigue. Truckers must abide by the Hours of Service regulations, which provide strict limits for how long they are allowed to drive and the length of rest periods between shifts. This gives them a chance to sleep and relax so they are ready to pay attention to the road when they are driving again.
Sometimes, even a well-rested driver is going to have issues with fatigue because of the road conditions. Driving on familiar roads, in the rain, or in a hot and stuffy cab can all lead to fatigue. It is also possible that things like traffic jams and tight scheduling can place stress on the trucker that might manifest as fatigue.
Time of the haul
Having to drive when they’d normally be asleep can also lead to fatigue because of the circadian rhythm. This is why people tend to get tired at night and in the early afternoon. There is also the possibility of highway hypnosis, which is caused by the effect of oncoming headlights. Minimizing night hauls can reduce the possibility of this happening and enable the trucker to rest during the body’s natural time to do so.
Some medical conditions can impact a person’s ability to get suitable rest. Most truckers won’t be cleared for their physical if they have these so it isn’t likely going to be an issue. Still, if one of these conditions, such as sleep apnea, manifests while the trucker is actively taking hauls, problems can occur. Even medications to treat conditions might pose a problem if they can induce drowsiness.
People who are involved in crashes with a fatigued trucker need to explore the option of seeking compensation to reduce the financial burden they face. They can seek repayment for medical bills, missed wages and other damages.