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Long work hours and deadline pressure cause truck driver fatigue

Long stretches of highway in Illinois can wear down any motorist, but commercial truck drivers often fight through their fatigue to meet delivery deadlines. Schedules and company incentives for early deliveries add to the pressure to ignore weariness and keep on trucking. Drowsy driving, however, impairs driving abilities in a manner similar to drinking alcohol. Tired drivers have slower reaction times, difficulty focusing on their surroundings and impaired judgment. A truck driver who completely falls asleep behind the wheel could cause a serious or even fatal crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established hours of service regulations meant to limit truck drivers’ time behind the wheel so that they can rest. People transporting property cargo cannot exceed 11 hours of driving after a 10-hour break. Truckers sometimes break these rules to meet their deadlines while exposing themselves and others to the risks of drowsy driving.

Safety experts encourage truck drivers to take naps if they feel tired and cannot stop yawning. Caffeine and other energy drinks are not the safety equivalent to rest. The size and weight of commercial vehicles make them especially dangerous and deadly in a wreck.

A person seriously hurt in a commercial vehicle accident might face high medical bills and potentially lifelong disability. Because a trucking company might want to hide problems like truck driver fatigue or poor truck maintenance, the representation of an attorney might enable a victim to gather evidence of negligence, like an hours of service violation, to support a personal injury claim. An attorney might recognize delay tactics from a trucking company’s insurer and challenge them with a lawsuit. These services could result in the victim collecting damages for lost income and medical bills.