We all get tired, especially after a long drive. What happens when someone is behind the wheel of a huge truck when they get tired? Nothing good, that’s for sure. Over 5,000 fatal truck crashes occurred in 2019 nationwide, one of the highest rates of these collisions in recent years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13% of these involved a drowsy truck driver. It mainly comes down to hours of sleep. Truck drivers average less than 5 hours of sleep per night, yet the CDC recommended amount for adults is 7 to 9 hours.

Photo of a Tired Driver

Learn More About Truck Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving statistics are downright scary. According to the National Safety Council, about 64% of truck drivers experience some kind of fatigue regularly. Insomnia is found in about 27.5% of truck drivers. Roughly 18% of truck drivers report falling asleep behind the wheel. Studies indicate that drowsy driving could be involved in upwards of 40% of truck crashes.

These numbers aren’t something to brush aside. Accidents between commercial trucks and cars can be particularly dangerous due to the significant size and weight disparities between the two vehicles. Commercial trucks are significantly larger than passenger cars, often weighing 20 to 30 times more. In a collision, the sheer mass of the truck can cause extensive damage to a car. These trucks, also known as semi trucks, large trucks, or tractor-trailers, are much larger and heavier than typical passenger cars. This size and weight difference can lead to severe injuries in the event of a collision, even death. 

While the majority of Miami area trucking companies prioritize safety and adhere to regulations, not all do. In fact, there have been instances where errors or negligence on the part of trucking companies have played a role in accidents. This includes truck driver fatigue. When any driver doesn’t get enough sleep before driving or has been driving too long without stopping to sleep, it can significantly affect their cognitive and physical function. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that not only does it increase your chances of falling asleep or nodding off while driving, but it can:

  • Cause slower reaction times
  • Lead to poor decision-making
  • Make you experience “tunnel vision”
  • Increase forgetfulness
  • Cause drifting into other lanes

Studies also tell us that driving fatigued is essentially the same as driving with a .08 blood alcohol content. In fact, driving tired and driving drunk share several similarities in terms of impairing a driver’s abilities and increasing the risk of accidents. Both fatigue and alcohol impair a driver’s reaction time. When you’re tired, your ability to react quickly to unexpected situations on the road is diminished, similar to the slowed reaction times caused by alcohol. This is truly concerning!

Fatigue and alcohol can lead to reduced alertness and an inability to pay proper attention to the road and surrounding traffic. This can result in missed traffic signals, failure to notice hazards ahead, and an overall decreased awareness of the driving environment.

There is also a decrease in overall coordination. Both fatigue and alcohol can negatively affect coordination and fine motor skills, which are necessary for tasks such as steering, braking, and maintaining a steady speed.

Tiredness and alcohol can impair a driver’s ability to make sound judgments. Drivers may take unnecessary risks, underestimate the distance to other vehicles, or fail to accurately assess dangerous situations. This can lead to dangerous behaviors such as aggressive driving, unsafe lane changes, and running red lights.

Why The Truck Company May be at Fault

If they’re feeling fatigued while driving, it’s recommended to pull over in a safe area and rest before continuing their journey, but it’s not always up to them. Less-than-stellar truck companies sometimes push their drivers to meet tight delivery schedules, leading to driver fatigue. This is dangerous as we now know that fatigued drivers have slower reaction times, reduced attention, and impaired decision-making. All of these increase the risk of accidents. Some trucking companies might place undue pressure on drivers to meet tight delivery schedules, potentially encouraging risky behaviors such as speeding or driving in adverse conditions.

Hire Miami Accident Attorneys After a Truck Accident

If a truck driver is fatigued, it can have even more devastating impacts due to the size and weight of the vehicle. If you feel this applies to your recent truck accident, call upon a truck accident law firm to fight on your behalf. After an accident with a truck, it is very possible that you are entitled to damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. This is especially true if the driver was either fatigued or asleep behind the wheel. Reach out to our lawyers today and we’ll begin working on your behalf.