When a Pennsylvania truck driver is negligent or reckless, it poses a risk to everyone else on the road. This is also true when a truck driver is tired while behind the wheel. Truckers work long hours and spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel, which may mean they are more prone than other types of drivers to be drowsy. Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue that can cause catastrophic accidents. All it takes is a split second of nodding off for a wreck to occur. Even drivers who do not completely fall asleep could cause accidents if they do not react quickly enough to changes and hazards on the road.
Drowsy driving is a significant problem. Exhaustion can impact a trucker’s physical reaction abilities as well as his or her cognitive abilities. If you suffered injuries in an accident involving a truck, it is possible that drowsy driving is to blame. You would have the right to seek compensation from all liable parties.
Why Are Pennsylvania Truckers So Tired?
So why do truck drivers get so tired behind the wheel? There are many reasons, some of which include the following:
- Working too late at night. Your body naturally gets tired after midnight and before six o’clock in the morning. This can also happen from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., so even a standard afternoon drive can be dangerous.
- Mental and physical exertion. Driving for long hours is mentally taxing, and helping with loading and unloading is a physical challenge.
- Not getting enough sleep. Many drivers have to sleep in their trucks on the road, and they may not get as much sleep as they would at home in bed.
- Working long hours. Extended hours and delays can make for very long work days. Even responsible drivers wear down.
- Strenuous activities outside of work. For instance, truck drivers may take up jogging or running to try to stay in shape and combat having a relatively sedentary job. These hobbies, while healthy, can make them more tired when they settle into the truck.
On top of all of this, drivers often have deadlines and do not feel like they can stop and sleep when they need it. If a truck driver causes an accident and you suffer an injury, make sure you know what legal options you have.
The Dangers of Tired Truck Drivers
One of the most important things that truckers can do is to get regular rest. There are regulations in place to prevent truckers from working too long and driving too many hours consecutively, but individual drivers and trucking companies do not always follow these rules. Consider the following:
- Because of the nature of the job, truckers are more susceptible to drowsy driving. There is ample evidence that fatigued driving can have fatal consequences.
- In many cases, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsy drivers swerve, drive erratically, and make poor decisions behind the wheel.
- With rest and adherence to safety regulations, truckers can fight against the possibility of drowsy driving.
When someone has a medical emergency behind the wheel, it’s very dangerous for themselves and others on the road. When that emergency happens while they’re driving a semi truck, the danger to others increases tremendously. A semi can weigh 80,000 pounds. When a vehicle like that goes out of control, it can do a considerable amount of harm before it finally stops.
The risk drops off again for those who sleep at least eight hours per night. Part of the reason for this increased risk, they note, is that sleep can “exacerbate other health conditions, including high blood pressure.”
So when drivers try to work too hard and stay up too late, not only are they fatigued and exhausted behind the wheel. However, they are actually more likely to have a serious medical emergency. This, just like nodding off while driving, can cause an accident that puts other people in the hospital.
A tired driver is a dangerous driver, no matter what. However, when a tired driver is behind the wheel of a large and heavy semitrailer, it can have devastating consequences. Due to the bigger size and heavier weight of these types of vehicles, even a low-speed collision can be serious.
If you believe that your truck accident resulted from a negligent or reckless truck driver, you could have grounds to move forward with a civil claim. It may seem daunting, but it is possible to hold liable parties accountable.
Truck Accident Victim’s Rights in Pennsylvania
Victims of truck accidents often feel overwhelmed by what happened. From serious injuries to dealing with the tactics employed by trucking companies and their insurance providers, it can be difficult to protect your interests.
As a victim, you may find it beneficial to seek a complete evaluation of your case to understand both your legal options and how you can shield your interests after an accident involving a drowsy truck driver. Contact an experienced Easton, PA truck accident lawyer for more information.