Fatigue among commercial truck drivers is a serious and ongoing problem that in Florida and nationwide. These professional drivers are responsible for transporting goods across long distances, and when they drive while fatigued, the risks increase significantly.
To mitigate these dangers, trucking companies and drivers must prioritize adequate rest and comply with regulations designed to keep roadways safe.
Impaired alertness and reaction times
Fatigue impairs a driver’s alertness and reaction times. When truck drivers experience fatigue, it compromises their ability to react to unexpected situations. This can result in delayed responses to obstacles, traffic signals or sudden changes in traffic conditions, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Reduced concentration and focus
Fatigue can reduce concentration and focus, making it difficult for truck drivers to keep their attention on the road. This lack of concentration can result in drifting out of lanes, missing important road signs or failing to notice other vehicles, all of which can lead to accidents.
Increased risk of microsleeps
Microsleeps are brief episodes of sleep that occur without a person’s awareness. Fatigued truck drivers are at risk of experiencing microsleeps, which can last for just a few seconds but are long enough to cause catastrophic accidents. During a microsleep, a driver is essentially unconscious and cannot react to road hazards.
Longer braking distances
A driver’s ability to judge distances accurately and calculate braking distances suffers when he or she needs sleep. When a fatigued commercial truck driver attempts to stop a massive vehicle, the longer braking distances required can result in rear-end collisions.
The Truck Safety Coalition reports that 65% of professional truckers say they sometimes feel drowsy at the wheel. Almost half of them also say they have fallen asleep at the wheel within the past 12 months, highlighting a need for more oversight by fleet owners and safety authorities.