If you have ever had to drive for several hours straight, you know how exhausting it can be. Remaining alert for so long is mentally and physically demanding.
Commercial drivers spend every workday driving for hours on end. Many will spend ten or more hours at the wheel, only to get up and do the same thing again the next day. There are federal laws aimed at curtailing fatigue driving, but they can still leave drivers covering shifts that last more than half a day.
Why is fatigue such a serious concern for people driving semi-trucks?
Fatigued drivers are a lot like drunk drivers
The way that alcohol affects your brain is a lot like what happens to your mental faculties when you go a long time without sleep.
It becomes much more difficult to maintain your mental focus. If you have to make a decision, you may not have the clarity to react appropriately and quickly. When you have gone some time without sleep, you are at higher risk of dozing off and may have a longer reaction time if a car in front of you stops, or an animal runs into the road.
The longer you go without sleep, the more pronounced these symptoms become. After 20 hours without sleep, the effects on your skill are similar to being over the legal limit for alcohol. A truck driver toward the end of their shift or who didn’t have a good night’s sleep between two days at work could be dangerous. Despite knowing about the risk of fatigue, drivers will show up to work when they haven’t had any sleep, and truck companies will schedule their workers for very long shifts.
Identifying driver fatigue as a possible cause of a recent semi-truck collision can help you seek financial justice.