Driver fatigue can result in serious car and truck accidents that can be even more lethal when a truck driver is driving while fatigued. It is necessary for victims of negligent drivers, such as drivers experiencing fatigue but driving anyway, to be familiar with the personal injury legal protections available to them.
What is driver fatigue and what causes it?
Driver fatigue can be caused by many different circumstances including:
- Being awake for too many consecutive hours such as truck drivers driving for too many service hours;
- Not getting enough sleep over a period of multiple days;
- Time of day may also impact driver fatigue because the body’s urge to sleep is strongest in early morning hours. The natural sleep/wake cycle of the body tells it when to be alert and when it is time to sleep;
- Long periods of inactivity or monotonous tasks may lead to feeling fatigued; and
- Health factors including medications and sleep disorders can cause drowsiness and driver fatigue.
What is the potential impact of driver fatigue?
Driver fatigue is dangerous and can create dangers on the roadway including causing drivers to:
- Nod off;
- React more slowly to changes in roadway conditions, other drivers or pedestrian activity on the roadway;
- Drift into another lane of travel;
- Develop tunnel vision while driving by losing any sense of what is going on in the driver’s periphery;
- Experience microsleeps which are brief sleep episodes that last for fractions of a second up to 30 seconds; or
- Forget the last few miles the driver has driven.
Driver fatigue and truck driver fatigue can lead to catastrophic accidents that can seriously injure victims. Personal injury legal protections can help victims of negligent drivers, such as fatigued drivers, with their physical, financial and emotional damages which is an important resource for victims and families to be familiar with when a fatigued driver has caused an accident that injured them.