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Understanding Truck Driver Fatigue: A Crucial Factor in Road Safety

Truck drivers play an essential role in our economy, but their job comes with significant responsibilities, especially regarding road safety. Adhering to regulations and managing driving hours is crucial to prevent fatigue, a serious concern that can have disastrous consequences on the road.

Truck driver fatigue not only affects the drivers but also poses a substantial risk to everyone on the highways. It's a public safety hazard that can lead to severe accidents, often resulting in tragic outcomes. Recognizing the signs of fatigue and understanding its impact is key to preventing these accidents.

The Impact of Drivers Fatigue on Trucking accidents

Fatigue can affect anyone. Whether you've had a long day at work or spent too much time in the sun, fatigue can catch up with you and leave you feeling drained. We've all likely felt the effects of fatigue while driving, and it can happen to anyone on the open road, even professional drivers. Fatigue can be at the heart of many road-related issues, including a potentially serious outcome: trucking accidents.TRUCKING TIRED: A PUBLIC SAFETY HAZARDWhen behind the wheel, it’s essential that things continue to be on our radar, from passing vehicles to potential road hazards. Fatigue serves as a major impairment on our senses, akin to something as serious as driving drunk. In fact, lack of sleep seems to affect our reaction time on par with alcohol.


Unfortunately, many times the onset of fatigue leads to trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, driving while fatigued or drowsy accounted for nearly 91,000 accidents over just one year. This astonishing slew of crashes resulted in approximately 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths.With tight schedules and limited time, truck drivers tend to cut into their sleep routine to make up the difference, leading to long hours logged and a staggering loss of sleep. One study found that 19% of a nearly 1,300-person sample of commercial truck drivers confessed to sleeping at the wheel one or more times the previous month. Roughly two-thirds of the sample also revealed that they had worked more hours in the past year than originally reported.


The proper amount of shut-eye is nothing to scoff at. It’s recommended that most adults sleep between seven and eight hours a night. Estimates suggest truck drivers receive much less than that, which takes a toll on their ability to stay alert. A New England Journal of Medicine study reported that, on average, truck drivers spend a little more than five hours in bed. Actual time asleep clocked in at even less: around four hours and 45 minutes.

The Repercussions of Truck Driver Fatigue

Tired truck drivers are less responsive to changes in traffic and road conditions, which increases the risk of accidents. Tailgating other cars, going above the speed limit, losing focus, losing control of the truck, having trouble remaining in a driving lane or irregularly changing lanes, and even trying to battle exhaustion with drugs are all signs that a truck driver is tired or that their driving skill is hindered. All of these actions raise the likelihood of a serious injury or fatality.

Victims' Individual Injuries Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue

Injuries sustained in a collision with a truck may be very severe, requiring long-term medical attention. Vertebral fractures, brain injuries, shattered bones, and severe burns are all typical casualties in truck accidents. An individual's capacity to work and carry out daily activities may be severely impaired as a result of such injuries.

The Final Thoughts

Fatigue among truck drivers is a major safety concern that may have disastrous results on the road. Get in touch with a personal injury attorney that specializes in truck accidents if you or a loved one has been hurt in one. At Wettermark Keith, we have a team of lawyers that work tirelessly to defend the rights of victims and hold wrongdoers responsible for their acts.

Call a Truck Accident Lawyer

Call us at 334-284-0014 or fill out the free case evaluation form on the website if you or a loved one was injured due to a truck driver’s negligence. We provide free initial consultations at our Birmingham, Alabama office to discuss your case and inform you of your legal options. We fight to not only get our clients’ medical bills covered, but we also make sure they are compensated for the pain and suffering caused by the willful disregard for their safety.

Fatigue, both mental and physical, may set in for truck drivers when they don't get enough shut-eye. Because of this, the truck driver's ability to make sound decisions and respond quickly might be compromised, increasing the risk of an accident.

Ready to work together? Contact us today for a free consultation.


If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.