Truck driver employers should be aware of and enforce the federal rules regarding maximum hours drivers can spend on the road and the rest breaks that they must allow. However, that doesn’t eliminate the problem of fatigued drivers on the roads in Pennsylvania and across the country.
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 13% of crashes involving commercial vehicles, there was a fatigued driver behind the wheel. The nature of truck driving leads to long shifts and driving several hours into the night. And because humans aren’t nocturnal, drowsiness can set in during these shifts. Fortunately, there are multiple ways drivers can try to work on staying alert and awake through their entire shift.
Checking in with habits
Motor vehicle incidents often happen within the first hour of driving. This means if someone is feeling groggy and decides to start their vehicle and begin their route, then it’s possible that they will drive as if they are impaired. This could include not being able to process their surroundings fast enough to dodge hazards and falling asleep behind the wheel. So, it’s crucial for truck drivers to set up a routine that doesn’t involve rolling out of their sleeper berth and immediately into the driver seat.
Cutting out alertness tricks
When a driver does arise from a slumber, taking the time to fully wake up may include a cup of coffee. While many busy adults rely on the aid of caffeinated beverages and supplements, it’s important to not use caffeine and other alertness tricks to attempt to fix fatigue. Pouring another cup, blasting music or opening a window can all sound like good ideas to help one stay awake. But drivers should only use these practices as a buffer and prioritize following a strict sleep regimen instead. Seven to nine hours of sleep is what all adults should aim for, no matter when one’s bedtime begins.
If you or someone you love believes a drowsy truck driver is accountable creating pain and suffering, then an experienced attorney can help seek justice.