Commercial truck drivers might spend more time on the road than anybody else in California. They are often under serious pressure from their employers to complete their deliveries as quickly as possible. Because of this and other reasons, drivers are often tempted to put in very long hours and forgo sleep, even when their eyelids begin to droop.
Unfortunately, driving while fatigued raises the odds a driver will cause a car accident. And when a semi truck is involved, the potential for destruction and serious personal injury is even worse.
A website on fatigued driving from the National Sleep Foundation compares it to drunk driving. That is because the symptoms of driving while sleepy are very similar to what a drunk driver experiences. Side effects include:
- Weakened judgment, reaction time and vision.
- The brain’s ability to process information and retain short-term memories is hampered.
- Worse performance behind the wheel, along with lessened ability to focus.
- Moodiness and aggression.
There are many ways for a human being to become exhausted. We must get regular, restful sleep or we become sleep-deprived. Besides lack of sleep time, fragmented sleep (where you repeatedly wake up) can contribute. So can alcohol, sleep medication, and an undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder.
A truck driver who loses control on the highway due to fatigue can easily cause a big pile-up. Victims may suffer permanent, crippling injuries, or even die as a result. A driver who knowingly allowed himself to operate a truck without taking the necessary rest breaks may be liable for victims’ damages. So too might be his or her employer.