Many driver-related factors can influence the likelihood of a serious motor vehicle collision. Both impairment and distraction can drastically increase the likelihood of a driver experiencing a significant collision. However, exhaustion or fatigue are also significant concerns when it comes to safely arriving at your destination.
If you have ever gotten behind the wheel of a car when feeling tired, you likely already know how hard it is to drive safely when you feel exhausted. Exhaustion directly impacts your ability to quickly respond to stimuli. It also impacts your ability to focus on your surroundings. The combination of those two consequences can be quite dangerous for drivers.
When the person dealing with exhaustion is in control of a massive commercial vehicle, they could cause a crash that could claim the lives of other people. Unfortunately, those drivers are some of the most likely to drive when they feel tired because their job requires it.
Commercial drivers work long hours
Commercial truck drivers may have to drive across multiple states in a single day. It is a difficult job that often requires hours of work without a break and incredibly long shifts. Truck drivers also have a commute to and from their job in many cases, as well as obligations to their families after work. They may have to load and unload, which can be physically exhausting.
As a result, many truck drivers may already feel fatigued when they start their shifts. In that scenario, it is possible that by the end of their shift, exhaustion will have a serious impact on their driving capabilities.
Federal regulations aim to limit exhaustion in commercial drivers
Commercial truck crashes often pose much more risk for people in small passenger vehicles than they do for the people in the commercial trucks. The difference in size and weight can result in horrific crashes between commercial and passenger vehicles. The federal government understands the risks related to commercial trucking and has taken steps to mitigate some of the most significant risk factors.
These factors include fatigue or exhaustion. Under the Hours of Service rules, there are limits to how long a trucker can drive in a single shift, how long they can drive in any given week and how long their brakes must be for safety.
If you have any reason to believe that a truck driver who caused a crash wasn't fully awake while driving, you should discuss those concerns with a New Orleans personal injury attorney. There may be documentation that the driver violated the hours of service rules or historical records that show that they routinely drive longer than they should. That could help you develop grounds for a lawsuit against the driver or their employer.