While a career in truck driving has many advantages, reasonable hours are typically not one of them. Commercial truck drivers are often expected to spend long stretches of time on the road, often traveling across multiple states in just one trip. However, the long hours behind the wheel can cause driver fatigue, a common cause of serious truck accidents.
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were fatigued at the time of their accidents.
Preventing driver fatigue accidents
The FMSCA has several hours-of-service regulations in place to limit the number of hours drivers are allowed to spend behind the wheel. For example, property-carrying drivers may only drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty and must take a 30-minute break for every eight cumulative hours of driving.
In addition to adhering to hours-of-service FMSCA regulations, the FMSCA also suggests that truck drivers take note of the following tips to avoid drowsy driving accidents:
- Get an adequate amount of sleep before driving.
- Avoid driving between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Eat healthy meals at regular times.
- Take a 10- to 45-minute nap if you feel drowsy.
- Avoid medications that may make you drowsy.
- Keep an eye out for the signs of drowsiness (e.g., yawning, blurred vision).
- Do not rely on coffee, smoking, or other “alertness tricks” to cure your drowsiness.
Truck drivers who are fatigued behind the wheel cause countless accidents in North Carolina each year. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy truck driver, a personal injury attorney can help you file a claim against the driver and their employer for damages.