It’s no secret that many truck drivers struggle with fatigue while driving, and that this can cause accidents to occur. However, it is less well known that the real reason for truck drivers’ fatigue is often their work schedules, which are set by trucking companies. These work schedules and the way they operate can cause truck drivers to put the safety of other drivers at risk Central Illinois Trucking Companies.
Accidents involving semi-trucks are oftentimes more dangerous and deadly than accidents involving passenger vehicles due to the large size of semi-trucks. When a truck accident is caused by a driver’s fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel, a personal injury lawsuit will often arise as a result. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you should contact a Michigan truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Truck Driver Work Schedules Cause Fatigue
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 13 percent of all commercial truck drivers who were involved in accidents reported that they were fatigued at the time of the accident. At any given moment, hundreds of thousands of semi-trucks are driving on America’s roadways, and with 1 in 10 experiencing fatigue, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of fatigued truck drivers on the road right now.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are incentivized to make and finish deliveries as soon as possible. After all, time is money. In any industry that operates under that premise, sleep can be seen as a waste of time. This mentality leads truck drivers and trucking companies to push the envelope when it comes to getting adequate rest.
Circadian Rhythm and Trucking
Circadian rhythm is our body’s internal “clock” that tells us when to sleep and when to wake up. For most people, healthy and regular circadian rhythms are developed by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. For truck drivers, however, it can be impossible to develop a circadian rhythm, since their work schedules are very irregular. A driver’s schedule is usually determined by demand, and if a product needs to be at a certain destination by a certain time, a trip can begin and end at any time of the day.
While the law requires that truck drivers get adequate rest and that trucking companies must provide breaks in a driver’s schedule, these breaks are often at different times every day. Due to the disruption in circadian rhythm that these schedules cause, truck drivers may be unable to sleep during their rest periods, and others who attempt to sleep likely do so in the cabins of their trucks. These cabins may not be comfortable enough to provide an atmosphere for obtaining restful sleep. Thus, as our truck accident attorneys in Michigan have learned, truck drivers are often caught in a vicious cycle of needing sleep and not being able to get it wotpost.
Truck Driver Substance Abuse
To combat difficulties in sleeping, truck drivers may turn to substances to assist them in sleeping or staying awake. These substances can include everything from the innocuous (such as caffeine and melatonin), to the illicit (such as amphetamines and tranquilizers). When truck drivers use any type of substance, there is no guarantee that the substance will appropriately wear off when they need it to. A truck driver who uses caffeine to stay awake, for example, may find they are unable to sleep during their rest periods. If that same truck driver then takes a legal sleeping aid to solve this problem, the driver may not be able to fully and adequately wake up when he needs to start driving again.
The same theme of a “vicious cycle” thus emerges with respect to substance use. While illegal substances have obvious ramifications, truck drivers’ abilities to maintain control of their vehicles may be equally affected by usage of legal substances to deal with their work schedules. No matter the type of substance, if you suspect that an accident you’ve been in may have been caused by a truck driver’s substance use, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. When working with one of Fieger law’s truck accident attorneys, Michigan accident victims can be assured that we will get to the bottom of any and all causes of an accident.
Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Truck accidents are more complex, more dangerous, and more consequential than “ordinary” car accident cases. These cases often involve complicated facts, and uncovering the cause of a truck accident can require more investigation than usual. Here at Fieger Law, our team of truck accident attorneys is keenly aware that a large number of trucking accidents are caused by driver fatigue. When fatigue causes an accident, the victims of that accident deserve justice, and we will seek justice on behalf of any client whose case we are able to take.