Driver fatigue is one of the main causes of trucking accidents on the nation’s highways. Recent studies, as well as accounts from truck accident lawyers and their clients, find that fatigue affects truck drivers in many more ways than initially suspected, complicating the situation. Because of this, driver fatigue is a much greater problem than previously believed.
Fatigue – Short and Long Term Effects
Fatigue and being overtired affects people in different ways. Some truck accident lawyers suggest that one common factor with all fatigued drivers is reduced mental activity that precedes actions resulting in accidents. Considering the fact that some truck drivers may only get five hours of sleep a night, it is understandable how drivers become so fatigued. What may not be realized is that the effects of fatigue are present in both short-term and long-term ways:
Short-Term Effects – These are the more obvious effects of fatigue and include: reduced attention to detail; reduced clarity and decisiveness; increased reaction time; and decreased driver performance overall. General, ongoing fatigue may also be responsible for poor memory, relationship stress, non- participation in otherwise enjoyable activities, and certainly accidents when driving.
Long-Term Effects – Not immediately apparent are the longer-term effects of fatigue, which negatively impact a driver’s life in general and play a part in many traffic incidents. Attorneys who handle trucking accidents suggest that these concerns may include: chronic attention problems; depression and mood disorders; obesity; increased risk of heart attack and stroke; high blood pressure; and other chronic conditions to name a few.
Driver Fatigue – It Must Be Prevented
Driving big trucks when overtired is never a good idea because of the possibility of accidents due to short-term issues. In the long term, even if fatigue does not result in trucking accidents, it certainly lead to the poor health conditions referenced above. Experienced truck accident attorneys note that these same health conditions typically require medications to be controlled – and prescription medicines are a known cause of trucking accidents. Even worse, a health-impaired driver could experience a health emergency while driving.
Preventing fatigue, especially for heavy truck drivers, is vital. Paying attention to driving hours, eating properly, and knowing of any health conditions or medications that lead to chronic fatigue is essential to prevent long-term effects. Driving a big rig is difficult enough considering external elements like weather, road conditions, and other drivers. Truck accident lawyers state that allowing fatigue to happen is danger in the making.
Drivers of heavy trucks must understand the importance of appropriate rest and do whatever is necessary to avoid fatigue to maintain a good driving record today and their overall health tomorrow. In the event of a traffic accident with a commercial truck, you should discuss your situation with an experienced truck accident lawyer who is familiar with the rigors of driving for a living and can provide you the best legal consultation!