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How does fatigue affect truck drivers?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The trucking industry puts thousands of drivers on the road every day, hauling goods and supplies both locally and cross country. While this provides lucrative employment for those who enjoy driving, truck drivers often suffer from fatigue that may lead to serious accidents on the road.

The Truck Safety Coalition reports that more than 50% of truckers reported fatigue on the job and nearly that percentage admitted to actually falling asleep behind the wheel. Drowsiness behind the wheel can affect truckers in several ways, most of which can cause serious accidents.

Slowed reaction time

Truckers who do not feel alert behind the wheel usually experience a slower reaction time to problems on the road. A delayed reaction time could cause an accident during several different driving conditions, including:

  • Slick roads due to rain or snow
  • Construction zones
  • Sudden traffic flow issues

A failure to brake properly because of fatigue could cause a chain-reaction wreck that involves several vehicles.

Vision changes

Fatigue can cause eye strain and blurred vision, and either of these symptoms could affect the way truckers view the roadway. They may fail to notice caution signs and other roadway notices that apply specifically to large vehicles. Eye fatigue may cause truckers to become drowsy without warning.

Poor fitness

Fatigue can lead to poor fitness for truckers, which may then lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and even sleep apnea. Health problems connected to fatigue may cause truckers’ job performance to decline and lead to an increased risk of roadway accidents.

Limited hours on the road and improved logging devices can also reduce trucker fatigue.