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How Truck Driver Fatigue Can Lead to Catastrophic Traffic Crashes

There are many federal rules in place designed to help truck drivers avoid fatigued driving. For example, there are rules limiting how long drivers can stay behind the wheel before they must take a break. Despite this, truck driver fatigue is still a cause of many trucking collisions in Hollywood and across Florida.

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There many reasons why truck driver fatigue happens. In some cases, drivers are given a financial incentive to drive further. They have deadlines and may face serious financial or career consequences if they don’t make deliveries on time. In other cases, trucking companies may give bonuses or other perks to drivers who meet or exceed deadlines. In addition, some drivers want to drive as much as possible in order to make a good wage.

In other cases, truck drivers of big rigs and tractor-trailers obey all the rules but may be fatigued for other reasons. For example, they may be taking over-the-counter medications that cause side effects such as fatigue or drowsiness. In some cases, truck drivers may have sleep apnea or sleep disorders that leave them exhausted even if they have gotten many hours of sleep.

No matter what causes fatigued driving, experts agree that it can be very dangerous on the roads. There many ways that truck driver fatigue can lead to collisions in Hollywood and Florida:

Fatigue can cause the driver to fall asleep behind the wheel.

Severe fatigue eventually causes the body to simply stop functioning correctly and the body pushes to get the sleep it needs. It is not unusual for a driver who has not been getting adequate sleep to simply fall asleep at the wheel, losing control of their truck.

Extreme fatigue can lower response times and affect decision-making.

Studies suggest that fatigue driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving – and for some of the same reasons. When we’re fatigued, our driving responses are slower, which can make it harder to avoid near misses and trucking accidents. Fatigued driving can also lead to poor driving decisions, such as the decision to run a red light.

Fatigue can cause drivers to drift into other lanes.

Truck drivers who are so exhausted that they can no longer focus on the road may drift into oncoming lanes or other lanes, potentially causing sideswipe or head-on truck collisions.

Fatigue can cause drivers to stop focusing on the road.

Extreme fatigue can cause the body to go into what are known as “micro-sleeps.” These are very short periods where someone essentially loses consciousness as the body tries to compensate for sleep deprivation. A driver may not even be aware that they are drifting off or that their eyes are closing for a few seconds at a time. But when this happens, the driver is essentially driving without looking at the road for short bursts time.

Have you been injured by a fatigued driver in Hollywood or Florida? There may be legal options to help you seek recovery and damages for your injuries. To find out more and to find out whether you qualify, contact the law offices of Flaxman Law Group for more details. Your initial consultation with our law firm comes with no commitment and no cost.