Drowsy driving is by no means limited to truckers. It’s far more common than many people realize, and some estimates suggest that around 100,000 car accidents — and maybe more — can be traced back to it every single year.
That being said, experts note that the risk is higher for truckers than anyone else. Not only are they on the road for many of their working hours, but deadlines and obligations mean they can’t avoid those shifts when they’re tired.
Yes, truckers do have limits on their hours to prevent them from working for too long — driving for 48 hours straight, for instance, a clear danger. But that’s not the only way to be too tired to drive.
For instance, imagine that you have a friend come into town. You stay out too late catching up, then leave on a trip the next day. After four hours in the car, you feel like you’re going to nod off, so you pull into a rest area, sleep in the car for two hours, and get back on the road.
Now imagine a trucker in the same situation. The trucker knows he or she is too tired. Perhaps there have already been close calls, nodding off and then suddenly jerking back awake.
Logically, the trucker should also pull over, but there’s a deadline. This shipment has to arrive in the next six hours. If it doesn’t, other deadlines won’t be met. The whole chain of events is thrown off. The trucker is paid for doing the job and doing it on time. A two-hour nap is out of the question, even if it’s dangerous to keep going.
That’s one reason why drowsy driving is common, but that doesn’t make it right. Those who are hit by tired truckers, or even truckers who fell asleep at the wheel, need to know all of their legal options.
Source: GTG Technology Group, “The Dangers of Drowsy Driving for Truckers,” Courtney Endsley, accessed Oct. 06, 2017