West Virginia readers know it’s dangerous for truck drivers to drink and drive, but they might be surprised to learn drowsy driving is just as risky. Studies show sleep-deprived drivers behave similarly to drunk drivers. That means truck driver fatigue can lead to serious motor vehicle accidents.
The dangers of truck driver fatigue
Due to the massive size and weight of commercial trucks, it’s imperative for truckers to remain alert and in control of their vehicle at all times. However, the work schedule of professional truck drivers can be exhausting, leading to dangerous levels of fatigue.
Truckers can legally drive for up to 11 straight hours after taking 10 hours off. But many truck drivers don’t get adequate rest during their off hours, and scheduling demands often push them to spend more time working than their bodies can safely handle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staying awake for 18 consecutive hours is the same as having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. Meanwhile, staying up for 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%, which is above West Virginia’s legal limit. For truckers, this can cause slower reaction times, inattentiveness and poor decision-making while behind the wheel.
What to do after a drowsy driving truck accident
Getting into a crash with a fatigued truck driver can be scary and confusing. However, there are a few important steps victims should take to protect themselves after truck accidents, including:
- Calling 911 for help
- Seeking prompt medical care
- Notifying their insurance company
If a drowsy driving truck crash causes injuries or fatalities, the case could end up in civil court. Accident victims have the right to pursue financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, and pain and suffering.