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Drowsiness from shift work is often at the root of truck crashes

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Truck Accidents

Truckers and other shift workers in Georgia are prone to drowsiness simply due to the demands their job places on them. Having to work for long periods, work overnight or work with little sleep not only affects your ability to complete your work tasks competently but also makes it difficult to drive safely, especially because many truckers underestimate the dangers posed by drowsy driving.

How dangerous is drowsy driving?

One study of commercial drivers and other drivers whose occupation made them susceptible to drowsiness found that if a trucker did not get enough sleep from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. or if a trucker only slept for a short duration, these risks affected the chance of committing a safety critical driving event such as causing a collision.

Drowsiness can affect a driver’s reaction time and attention span, and can cause drivers to speed or make it difficult for them to stay in a lane. One study reports that completing six night shifts in a row increases the chance of a crash.

Ways to prevent drowsy driving

One way the government tries to address driver fatigue among truckers is by executing hours of service rules. These rules outline how long a trucker can drive before taking a mandatory rest break. While truckers must follow these rules and can be penalized if they do not, many truckers try to skirt them, drive while drowsy and ultimately cause a truck wreck.

Employers might try to prevent drowsy driving by trucker employees by emphasizing alertness measures such as scheduled naps, caffeine consumption and drowsiness education programs. While some of these measures might affect fatigued driving somewhat, none of them is a cure-all and it is ultimately up to truckers to get enough rest before getting behind the wheel. A truck crash can be catastrophic for the injured.