Truck driver fatigue can be a sizable problem in Texas. While most people understand that driving under the influence of alcohol is incredibly dangerous, fewer people understand the risks that drowsy driving poses. When an exhausted driver is behind the wheel of a giant tractor-trailer, the situation is especially hazardous.
Commercial truck driving is a perfect storm for drowsy driving
Let’s imagine a commercial truck driver doesn’t get a good night’s sleep at the motel he was staying at one night. Does he call in sick the next day? Probably not. Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to make their deliveries on time, which means they usually have to push through tiredness.
According to federal regulations, truckers can drive for 11 consecutive hours if that drive time follows a 10-hour break. If a truck driver had a sleepless night due to the unusual hours they are working, they might have to ingest some extra caffeine to stay awake. But coffee and energy drinks can’t replace a good night’s sleep, and sometimes compensating for drowsiness becomes a vicious cycle that can lead to motor vehicle accidents.
How fatigue affects driving
Fatigue affects driving in much the same way that alcohol affects driving. Just like a drunk driver, a fatigued truck driver will have slower reaction times and poor decision-making abilities. Falling asleep at the wheel is a serious risk of driving while fatigued.
While the legal blood alcohol limit for passenger car drivers is .08, truck drivers must adhere to the stricter .04 limit. If a truck driver has been awake for over 24 hours, their cognitive functioning will be similar to a person with a blood-alcohol content of .10.
A drowsy truck driver’s employer can be sued
If you were involved in an accident with a drowsy truck driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the truck driver’s employer. There are often multiple liable parties in a truck driving accident, especially if the trucker was pressured to continue driving while drowsy.