Fatigue is a major contributor in many of the truck accidents that happen on our roadways. Safety and crash studies demonstrate that when drivers are tired, the number of mistakes increases, as does the incidence of dangerous accidents. Truck crash attorneys know firsthand the devastation that often results in these situations. The reason why fatigue is related to an increase in crashes has to do with the effects it has on the body.
1. Reductions in Concentration, Cognition, and Alertness
There is a direct correlation between alertness and the ability to concentrate and fatigue. Truck crash attorneys are well aware that both of these skills are severely reduced when people are fatigued, making them less aware and less able to make good decisions.
If there are two things that the safe operation of a tractor trailer requires, it is alertness and the ability to concentrate and make effective decisions. When fatigued, drivers who cannot think clearly and/or are unaware of what is going on around them make more mistakes that could lead to deadly truck accidents. Some studies on fatigue even indicate that when cognitive function declines, it is similar to someone intoxicated over the legal limit for driving.
2. Increased Reaction Time
Along with the reduction in cognitive ability and alertness, fatigue also causes a dramatic increase in physical reaction time. A longer thought process and lower levels of awareness means reacting to stimuli will take longer. In terms of driving a heavy truck, the addition of even a fraction of a second to a driver’s reaction time can result in a dangerous collision. Delays in applying the brakes, steering correction, or avoiding hazards on the roadway are responsible for many deadly truck accidents.
3. Drowsiness and Falling Asleep
The worst effect that comes with driver fatigue is drowsiness, which can lead to falling asleep at the wheel. Most truck crash attorneys are aware that a startling number of big rig operators become so drowsy that they fall asleep while driving, sometimes causing deadly accidents. Even when a lapse in consciousness is only a few seconds, that is enough time for a driver to lose control of their truck and become disoriented. Such actions can cause a driver to collide with other vehicles or go off the road.
It is easy to see why fatigue is responsible for many driver errors that result in serious crashes. These huge, heavy vehicles require sharp skills and careful decisions to remain safe on the roadways. When drivers are fatigued, they cannot perform at their best. The sad result, as most truck crash attorneys can attest, is often a devastating wreck.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult for drivers to realize they are becoming fatigued and may be experiencing the effects it causes. Preventing truck accidents requires that drivers adhere to all Federal hours of service laws and get good quality sleep during their off time in order to prevent fatigue. With a fresh start every day, a well-rested driver can safely meet the demands of their job, greatly reducing the possibility of being the cause of a deadly crash!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190