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Why do truck drivers fall asleep at the wheel?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2020 | Personal Injury |

If you notice a tractor-trailer weaving within its lane or between lanes, that could be an indication that the trucker is fighting drowsiness, which can be just as deadly as alcohol impairment.

According to Sleep Help, nearly 1 in 4 truckers, when surveyed, reported falling asleep at the wheel during the previous month, and experts state that fatigue is a factor in 13% of commercial vehicle accidents.

What causes truckers to be so tired?

Many truckers work long hours, and this exhausts them. Trucker fatigue was such a problem in the United States that in 2013 the government prescribed new rules for commercial vehicle drivers. The new rules limit the number of hours that commercial drivers can work, currently at 70 hours per week down from the previous of 82. Once truckers hit the 70-hour limit, they must take a 34-hour resting period. Additionally, truckers may only drive for 11 hours out of any 24 hour period.

However, truckers have resisted these new rules. Many truckers claim that, with all their years of experience, they no longer feel fatigued, no matter how much they work. Many truckers also claim that the new laws limit the amount of income they can generate, which is a problem for them.

What can solve the problem?

This is a contentious issue to this day. You may have heard reports on the tug-of-war between those interested in regulating the trucking industry even further and those who wish to keep the laws as lax as possible. Many people who have lost loved ones in trucking accidents have worked with their legislators to raise awareness and support for stricter rules.

In terms of what individual truckers can do, getting plenty of sleep and driving during the day as much as possible can help limit accidents.