Truck driver fatigue is a danger to all New Jersey road users. Due to the massive size of commercial trucks, it’s essential for truckers to maintain control of their vehicles. However, some drivers are drowsy or unwell when behind the wheel, which can lead to serious accidents.
The Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue
Two of the most common causes of truck driver fatigue are driving too many hours without a break and lack of sleep. Truckers often have challenging schedules and feel pressure to work long shifts to keep up. Federal law allows them to drive up to 11 straight hours after having a minimum of 10 straight hours off, which can be tiring. Making matters worse, some drivers don’t get enough sleep between shifts.
Other common causes of truck driver fatigue include:
- Colds, flu and other forms of illness
- Certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications
- Alcohol consumption
- Working unusual shifts
The Impact of Truck Driver Fatigue
Fatigue can negatively affect a truck driver’s reaction time, judgment, coordination and focus, increasing their risk of causing a serious traffic accident. Drowsy truckers are also more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and lose control of their vehicle.
Studies have found drowsy drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers. In fact, staying awake for 24 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol level of .10, which is above the legal limit in New Jersey. Like impaired drivers, drowsy drivers can be found liable for personal injury claims if they cause an accident.
To prevent fatigue-related accidents, experts encourage truck drivers to get at least seven hours of sleep each night, take adequate breaks during their shifts and avoid medications that cause drowsiness.