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What causes trucker fatigue?

There are lots of rules in place that are designed to keep truck drivers from being overworked. However, they may not be as effective as they need to be. Some 40 percent of truck accidents are related to trucker fatigue.

A tired trucker is a dangerous trucker. How do you spot a tired trucker when you see one on the road? Look for the following indicators:

  • A truck keeps changing lanes for no obvious reason.
  • A trucker keeps tailgating other drivers.
  • A trucker is driving on the white lines or drifting toward other lanes.
  • You notice a truck that seems to be slowing down and speeding up without warning and braking suddenly.
  • You can see the truck driver rubbing their eyes, yawning or leaning against the window.

You want to be particularly watchful if it's late in the evening or early in the morning when most people are sleeping. Being obligated to work hours that go against their body's natural sleep cycle can put a strain on a driver.

Long hours, irregular hours, night hours, intense schedules and a lack of recovery time can all contribute to driver fatigue. So can factors that are simply unique to an individual driver, like the driver's health, age, weight and general physical condition.

If you're involved in an accident with a truck, it's hard to tell -- short of an admission on the driver's part -- if they were suffering from fatigue. An attorney who handles truck accidents will carefully examine all the facts to see if there's evidence that fatigue could be involved.

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