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The hidden hazard on the highway

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Truck Accidents |

If you or someone you love spends time on the roads of Indiana, you know that sharing the lanes with large trucks is an everyday occurrence. While many truck drivers operate their vehicles responsibly, there is an unseen danger that you should be aware of—driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue is one of the major factors associated with heavy truck crashes. It is a grave issue that can lead to catastrophic accidents, especially when massive commercial trucks are involved. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the causes of fatigue and why truck drivers fall asleep at the wheel.

Why do truck drivers fall asleep while driving?

Imagine you are driving beside an 18-wheeler truck that weighs several tons, and the driver’s eyelids start to droop. Fatigue and drowsiness can sneak up silently, turning a routine haul into a nightmare. But what causes this state of exhaustion among truck drivers? Here is what you need to know:

  • Long hours behind the wheel: Truckers often face grueling schedules that require them to drive for extended periods, pushing the limits of their endurance.
  • Inadequate sleep: Quality rest is not always possible on the road, leading to a sleep deficit that accumulates over time.
  • Irregular schedules: The life of a truck driver is rarely a 9-to-5 job. Irregular hours can disrupt natural sleep patterns, making it hard to stay alert.
  • Monotonous routes: The repetitive nature of long highway stretches can lull drivers into a state of drowsiness.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices: Limited access to nutritious food and exercise can contribute to fatigue.
  • Medications and substances: Some over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications can cause drowsiness, as can the use of alcohol or other substances.
  • Medical conditions: Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, which often go undiagnosed, can severely impact a driver’s ability to stay awake.

All these factors, individually or combined, can cause even the most prudent driver to fall asleep at the controls of an 80,000-pound vehicle.

Liability in truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers

When a truck accident occurs caused by driver fatigue, the question of liability becomes complex. You may be surprised to learn that multiple parties, aside from the driver, can be responsible. If the trucking company where the driver works imposes unrealistic schedules or fails to enforce regulations regarding rest periods, it might be liable for the crash. Improperly loaded or secured cargo can also lead to accidents, and if fatigue played a role in this negligence, liability could extend to the cargo loaders. In some cases, mechanical failure due to design flaws can contribute to an accident, with fatigue exacerbating the situation.

In Indiana, where crossroads meet, and trucks are a familiar sight, understanding factors associated with truck accidents is imperative. If you or a loved one is a victim of a trucking accident, knowing who is liable and why they are liable is the first step towards seeking justice.

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