A previous post on this blog discussed how federal regulators have put in to place rules that limit how long truckers subject to their jurisdiction can stay on the road before pulling over for several hours so that they can rest and, hopefully, get some sleep. The reason behind these rules are to prevent truckers from driving while too fatigued to do so safely.
Preventing fatigued truck driving is a noble cause since that behavior is so dangerous. One organization, the National Sleep Foundation, even compares drowsy driving to drunken driving, since the effects of sleep deprivation on a driver can be confused with those of alcohol or other drugs.
In extreme cases of drowsy driving, a trucker may literally fall asleep while driving, at least for a short time. Even if he does not, however, the lack of sleep will slow the driver’s reaction times, blur his vision and hinder his ability to determine distances or make split decisions.
This is because a mind operating on low sleep works more slowly, meaning a person takes long to digest information and come to a judgment about the best course of action. Likewise, the lack of sleep can affect a person’s emotions, making a driver very sensitive to the behavior of other motorists and thus more likely to engage in aggressive or reckless driving behavior.
The effect being overly tired has on a truck driver is profound, and one can easily see how fatigue can lead to serious trucking accidents. This is why it is imperative that truck drivers, and the companies which hire them, make sure that they follow all rules concerning mandatory breaks and actually get appropriate sleep during those breaks. Drivers should also be on guard for the signs of any medical or other condition that might prevent them from getting a good night of sleep.
When drivers choose to travel on the roads of Las Vegas while too tired to do so, the end result can easily be a Nevada resident’s getting seriously hurt or killed. Should this happen, the victim or the victim’s family have legal options for pursuing compensation from both the negligent driver and his trucking firm.