If you have ever worked a 12-hour shift, you no doubt understand how exhausted you can feel after a long day at work. Even driving home after such a long shift can seem like a difficult task. Unfortunately, commercial truckers often have shifts that last for more than 12 hours.
The end result is often that they are on the road while exhausted and are thus unable to perform to their best abilities. That could mean increased collision risk for exhausted truckers and the people on the road at the same time as they are.
How exhaustion impacts your driving
Any kind of exhausted driver is a risk factor for a crash. Sleep deprivation or exhaustion impact the brain in a way similar to alcohol intoxication. They can make it harder for people to focus on the road and can substantially increase response times.
When you think about how much bigger and harder to maneuver a commercial truck is when compared with the average passenger vehicle, there is no question that trucker fatigue and exhaustion are incredibly dangerous.
Many different career factors can increase exhaustion risks
There are many reasons that a commercial truck driver could be behind the wheel while tired. Perhaps they have a delivery that absolutely must arrive on time, but they have encountered bad weather or heavy traffic that delays them in their trip.
Some truckers only drive in the same region or state, which means that they may return home after their long shift driving. That can mean a commute of an hour or more added to both the beginning and the end of each shift.
Not only can that increase exhaustion on the drive home, but it could also impact how much rest the truck driver gets during their time off and leave them more vulnerable to serious fatigue. Long days and not enough rest time can cause chronic fatigue.
The federal government limits how long truckers can drive
The federal government absolutely understands that exhausted driving is dangerous. In order to combat exhaustion related to long shifts and questionable employer policies, the federal government has very strict hours of service rules in place.
In fact, commercial truckers must now have an electronic logging device that records their trucks' motions instead of a written log book. The use of electronic records helps reduce fraudulent entries and the practice of carrying two log books simultaneously.
If you have any reason to suspect that the trucker involved in a crash with you or someone you love was exhausted or fatigued at the time of the crash, you should absolutely explore the situation further. There may be documentation that supports habitual rule-breaking on the part of the driver or their employer. Talking with an attorney about the details of your accident and your suspicions as soon as possible is often a wise decision.