We all know what it feels like going to work after a bad night’s sleep. The sleepiness makes everything feel more difficult and exhausting to do. All you want to do is make it back home again so you can go to bed. Until then, your job performance is likely not as good as it usually is.
If your workplace was a 40-ton truck, being exhausted on the job could mean a serious crash. After years of deadly and severe accidents due to truck drivers dozing off on the road or losing the ability to drive safely, federal regulators have imposed strict limits on how many hours truckers can drive before they must take a rest break. But trucking companies and truck drivers don’t always follow the rules.
Disrupted sleep cycles can lead to disaster
Lack of sleep is only part of the reason fatigued driving is such a problem. Humans have circadian rhythms that fluctuate throughout the day and affect our energy levels. When a person did not get enough sleep, their periods of low energy become exaggerated, dragging down their ability to drive a large commercial truck safely.
Driving at night presents another problem. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truckers who drive at night, especially after midnight, tend to be drowsier than in the daytime. The effect is worse if the driver has been on the road for a long time.
The possible consequences of an accident with an exhausted trucker
Fatigue can affect your memory, cognition, focus, reaction time and ability to stay awake. A sleepy truck driver can easily lose control of their 18-wheeler on the highway, with terrible results. A truck accident can cause serious harm to people inside smaller passenger vehicles like cars and trucks. It is not uncommon for getting into a collision with a truck to change your life forever thanks to chronic pain, disability or both.