Companies in Florida and across the nation rely on semi-trucks to transport their goods from one destination to another. In fact, semi-trucks provide a necessary service that allows for interstate commerce, which is vital to a healthy economy. However, driving a semi-truck takes skill, and semi-truck drivers have to obtain a special license in order to operate their vehicles. There are also laws and regulations in place that dictate how long a trucker can be on the road before stopping to take a rest break. Nevertheless, truckers sometimes ignore these rules and drive while they are fatigued. In fact, according to one expert, driver fatigue may be as dangerous as drunk driving.
Driver fatigue is a factor in around 1.2 million motor vehicle accidents. When a driver is fatigued, they have a decreased attention span, they may not be aware of their surroundings and their response time is limited. One expert maintains that if a person operates a motor vehicle after being awake for 18 hours, the effects are the same as they would be if the driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent. If a person operates a motor vehicle after being awake for 24 hours, the effects are the same as they would be if the driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. This is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
This is significant, as a person who is experiencing driver fatigue can cause a crash that injures or kills another person. There are some signs that a driver is fatigued. Head nodding, having to really think about keeping one’s eyes open, driving on the rumble strips and not remembering part of one’s journey are all signs of driver fatigue.
People can prevent driver fatigue by getting enough sleep before heading out on a lengthy trip. They can also make sure not to take medicines, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription medicines, that may make them sleepy. Finally, determining whether one has a sleep disorder can also prevent driver fatigue.
Despite these precautions, some truckers will still cause accidents due to driver fatigue. Floridians injured in such accidents, or their family if the victim is killed, may want to contact a personal injury attorney to determine what steps to take next.
Source: wsaz.com, “Drowsy driving mimics effects of driving under the influence,” Kathryn Robinson, Oct. 18, 2017