Thousands of people are injured each year in California and around the country from trucking accidents. Fatigue plays a major role in this devastating type of crash.
All workers who don’t have regular hours are more susceptible to problems with fatigue and sleep problems. Some people also struggle to adjust to working nights if they are regularly on a night shift.
Fatigue is a common side effect of medications. If a doctor prescribes a medication for a truck driver’s health issue, then this could cause fatigue. There’s no way to know in advance what side effects one will have from a new medication.
Even if a truck driver isn’t intentionally working while sick, they could come down with symptoms while in the middle of their shift. Even the common cold and flu increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents because fatigue is a symptom that many experience when they’re sick.
In some situations, the truck driver has some or full responsibility for an accident because they were drinking. Despite how careful employers are to choose quality truck drivers, those who have a drinking or drug problem occasionally get through. A substance use problem may develop after they are already hired as well.
Truck drivers feel pressured to stay on schedule. Construction zones and car accidents that slow down traffic could cause them to fall behind. If they drive longer than the legal limit, then they may experience fatigue while on the road.
The problem with fatigue
Many people shrug off fatigue until they learn about its effects on their cognition and coordination. It’s not something you should push yourself through when you’re operating a vehicle or other dangerous equipment. Drowsiness decreases your reaction time, alertness, focus and coordination.
Employers and truck drivers must both do their part in reducing fatigue that drivers experience behind the wheel. Drowsiness is just as harmful as drunk driving because it hinders your ability to focus and react quickly.