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Fatigue means more than just lack of sleep for truckers

Businesses and consumers count on semitrucks to bring in deliveries of merchandise. For the most part, the truckers who drive these big rigs do a good job and take appropriate safety measures. Many trucking companies have programs in place to reward truckers who don't have any accidents or critical safety violations.

Most truckers will do what they can to rack up as many miles of safe driving as possible. Not only does this help them to remain reliable and keep on trucking, it also helps to keep others on the road safe. Still, these professional drives have some very real challenges to face when it comes to staying safe.

Fatigue is a serious problem

Truckers who are fatigued can take longer than what is acceptable to react to situations around them. A fatigued trucker is what caused the semitruck accident in 2014 that led to Tracy Morgan being in a coma, and also killed his friend.

This accident wasn't really an unusual event, but it was highly publicized because of the celebrity status of Mr. Morgan. The risk that truckers place on other people when they are fatigued is one reason the Hours of Service (HoS) regulations were instituted for truckers.

Even getting enough sleep might not be sufficient

Fatigue doesn't come only as a result of lack of sleep. It can also be the result of highway hypnosis, which is common at night. It might also occur because of medical conditions, medications, a cab that is too hot, driving on roads that are very familiar, and doing non-driving work during a shift.

Even though lack of sleep isn't the only factor that can lead to fatigue, getting enough rest between shifts can help to minimize the risk of fatigue. For this reason, truckers should use the time between driving shifts wisely. In the case of Mr. Morgan, the trucker was reportedly awake for 28 hours prior to the crash.

Preventing fatigued trucking

Fatigued trucking can be largely prevented if trucking companies provide realistic delivery times that allow truckers to have ample rest. Companies should also empower truckers to stop driving if they are showing signs of fatigue.

Unfortunately, this might not happen. When truckers drive fatigued, they can cause accidents that injure or kill innocent people. Those people might decide that they shouldn't be liable for the financial impacts of the accident and take action to recover their losses.

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