Fatigue comes from lack of sleep and anyone can experience it, some more severe than others. People who spend most of their day behind the wheel, such as truck drivers, are more susceptible to driver fatigue after working long hours.
Driver fatigue jeopardizes not only the safety of the driver but also other drivers on the road. If you were involved in an accident and have a suspicion that driver fatigue was the leading cause it is recommended that you speak with an attorney.
Driver Fatigue Explained
The CDC defines driver fatigue as drivers who do not get enough sleep or quality sleep. A driver’s performance of operating a motor vehicle can be significantly impacted by not getting enough time to sleep or rest. This is a direct hazard to anyone they share the road with.
Some companies that employ fleets of drivers have implemented ways to try and prevent driver fatigue with telematic systems that notify drivers if they are suspected of being drowsy. Truck drivers that are required to make long and monotonous drives should anticipate experiencing driver fatigue and create a plan to pull over and rest when they are approaching that point in their trip.
Causes Of Driver Fatigue
Some possible causes of a driver experiencing fatigue include:
- Working long hours
- Early mornings/late nights
- Lacking quality rest or sleep
- Long stints of driving without substantial breaks
- Sleep disorders or medication with drowsiness side effects
The fact that most truck drivers travel long routes that span across several states makes the possibility of driver fatigue occurring almost inevitable. Whenever a driver begins to feel symptoms of fatigue, they should find a spot to pull over and rest.
Why Driver Fatigue Is So Dangerous
Continuing to drive while experiencing fatigue poses many threats. A report from the NHSTA in 2019 stated that 697 deaths occurred from accidents where driver fatigue was the catalyst. The CDC also reports that 1 in 25 adults have had instances of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Especially in areas that are more congested with traffic, collisions are always a possibility if drivers aren’t careful, and driving while fatigued only amplifies these possibilities.
Auto accidents have the potential to greatly impact a person or family’s quality of life. Causing an accident due to driver fatigue is preventable, before making the decision to handle an automobile you need to assess how you’re feeling and if you are truly capable in order to ensure safety for yourself and other drivers on the road.
Preventing Driver Fatigue
In some cases, drivers handling eighteen-wheelers may have a cab or bed behind their seats so they can rest when they please. For drivers who need to schedule times to rest, is it important that you plan accordingly, or at least find a safe spot to pull over and rest.
It is just as important for drivers who are making long trips for non-professional reasons to make time to rest. If you notice yourself developing symptoms of fatigue while driving, it is up to you to take action. Here are some things you could do:
- Make a stop at a gas station or restaurant
- Rest overnight at a nearby hotel
- Call of friend or family member to pick you up if possible
- Postpone driving until you feel rested
How To File A Claim
In Florida, it is required that you file a claim with your insurance company first. PIP coverage will help alleviate the burden of any medical bills and lost wages from missing work. Beyond filing a claim through your insurance, you may be able to file a lawsuit in order to receive more compensation.
Cases against trucking companies can be complex to navigate. You will need solid proof that the company acted with negligence which resulted in the accident occurring.
To ensure you have a favorable case it is extremely important to take photos of the scene, your vehicle, and the other vehicle involved for your attorney to review. Your attorney will guide you through the process and provide you with expert advice after combing through the relevant evidence.
Operating a vehicle with driver fatigue is negligent and puts everyone else driving at risk. If you find yourself involved in an accident where the other driver showed symptoms of driver fatigue, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney to seek the compensation you deserve.