How Driver Fatigue Leads to Disastrous 18-Wheeler Accidents

We’ve all heard the horror stories about semi-truck operators falling asleep at the wheel due to their demanding schedules. Driver fatigue is dangerous in any situation. But when the exhausted driver is behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound fully loaded 18-wheeler, the outcome can be devastating. Due to the severity of these accidents and the resulting injuries, it’s often necessary to turn to an 18 wheeler accident attorney in Houston. These experienced attorneys work to help your family secure the compensation you desperately need in the aftermath of a disastrous semi-truck collision.

Common Driver Fatigue Causes

Long work hours, poor sleeping habits, and sheer boredom can all contribute to drowsy driving. For long-haul large truck drivers, these factors are frequently present. They drive for many hours and are under a lot of pressure to meet stringent timelines. This can lead to frequent sleep deprivation. Plus, many of these 18-wheeler operators work sporadic schedules. So, even when they do get sleep, it’s often disruptive and not very restful.

Traveling over hundreds or even thousands of miles on the road can be a monotonous activity. This is especially true when the novelty of driving through unfamiliar towns and viewing new sights wears off. So, unfortunately, an experienced truck driver may be at heightened risk. If you’ve ever slipped into “auto-pilot” during your daily commute, you may better understand how a truck driver might sometimes struggle with the same issue.

A 2007 Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that truck driver fatigue was a major contributing factor in commercial trucking collisions. It’s hard to pinpoint when this condition directly causes a crash. But it’s clear that combined with other factors, driver drowsiness often results in 18-wheeler accidents.

The Impact of Driver Fatigue

Driving while sleepy has been compared to driving under the influence of alcohol. That’s because the driver is severely impaired in both situations. Concentration and alertness are compromised.

The fatigued driver fails to notice potential and imminent dangers and hazards as quickly as when they’re not tired. When they recognize the looming threat, their reaction time is slowed. They aren’t able to make split-second decisions to prevent or decrease the risk. These issues can contribute to crashes or make a collision more destructive.

As the driver of a passenger vehicle, it’s important to be alert while you’re sharing the road with an 18-wheeler. Recognizing the dangers of driver fatigue among these truck operators is a smart approach. Try to stay out of their blind spots and understand that they need a much greater stopping distance than you do. But despite your best efforts, driver negligence in an 18-wheeler operator or trucking company can still lead to accident and injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck collision, turn to a knowledgeable 18-wheeler accident attorney in Houston to aggressively pursue justice.