West Virginia highways are prone to heavy truck traffic as vehicles carry goods across the country. Semitruck drivers are skilled professionals with specialized training to keep their vehicles safe. However, truck driver fatigue can undo that education, making the road extremely hazardous.
Understanding truck driver fatigue
Truck driver fatigue shares many of the characteristics of drunk driving. When drivers become tired, they have slower reflexes, trouble with decision-making and compromised attention spans. Any of these issues can result in serious truck accidents.
However, truck driver fatigue is often not directly related to drug or alcohol use. The driver has become too tired to operate a semitruck competently. This condition often happens when drivers go too long without a break or must drive late at night.
An industry-related issue
Truck drivers are under constant pressure to minimize the time between pickup and delivery. This time crunch may make a driver feel like a break is not an option. Workers may even feel compelled to drive their routes while they are feeling unwell.
To prevent such conditions, trucking companies must mandate regular breaks for their employees and ensure they have sufficient opportunities to sleep. They may also need to develop consequences for employees who do not observe these mandates.
The consequences of truck accidents
The force of a collision increases with the size and weight of the vehicle. If a semitruck rear-ends a smaller car because the driver failed to see its brake lights, the results can be devastating. A truck drifting into the opposite lane can result in a deadly front-end collision.
Some of the common damage truck collisions inflict include:
• Spinal injuries
• Brain injuries
• Broken bones
• Internal organ damage
Avoiding fatigued truck driving accidents
Most fatigued truck driving incidents happen late at night. If other drivers must be out at this time, they should give semitrucks plenty of room to operate. No matter what type of vehicle, every driver should perform a self-check to make certain they are not too tired to drive.