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Signs of Truck Driver Fatigue

Posted on September 3, 2022

Truck drivers are strictly regulated when it comes to how long they are allowed to operate their vehicles during each day and during a work week. These regulations are put into place for a reason, as they prevent driver fatigue. Unfortunately, there are still times when truck drivers operate vehicles while fatigued behind the wheel, and it is important for other motorists to understand the signs and symptoms of truck driver fatigue.

Signs of Drowsy Driving for a Truck Driver

There are various signs and symptoms that other motorists on the roadway should be aware of when it comes to recognizing drowsy driving. First and foremost, it is imperative for all drivers to practice defensive driving on the roadway, and this includes being aware of the behavior of other drivers around. When operating near larger semi-trucks, this means being extra cautious because these vehicles can lead to significant property damage and injuries if an accident occurs.

If a truck driver is drowsy, some of the main signs or symptoms that will be noticeable to others include:

  • Erratic acceleration or braking
  • Failing to accelerate when a light turns green or at a stop sign
  • Reacting too slowly to changing roadway conditions
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • The vehicle jerking to one side or the other
  • Multiple corrections in short periods of time
  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Complete loss of control over the vehicle

Any drivers who notice the signs and symptoms of drowsy driving in a truck driver need to remain a safe distance away from the truck and call the police. Take note of the type of truck and the license plate number if possible, and relay the location of the vehicle to the dispatcher.

What Happens if an Accident Occurs?

Truck drivers who operate while fatigued behind the wheel are much more likely to cause an accident. There is a reason that federal regulations stipulate how many hours the truck driver can operate each day and during a work week. Avoiding fatigue is imperative when operating vehicles of this size.

In the event an accident involving a commercial truck and others on the roadway does occur, it is important for victims to reach out to a skilled truck accident where as soon as possible. There are various types of evidence that need to be gathered in order to prove liability. Determining truck driver fatigue will involve obtaining the truck’s electronic control module as well as the driver’s electronic logging device to determine how many hours the truck driver was operating.

However, just because a truck driver does not operate beyond the allowable hours of service does not necessarily mean that they were not fatigued at the time the incident occurred. There are other reasons truck drivers become fatigued aside from driving their vehicle too much. There is no necessary guarantee the truck driver actually slept or rested during non-driving hours, and a truck driver’s lifestyle or diet can also play a role in their level of fatigue when operating the vehicle. Additionally, prescription or illegal narcotics can also lead to various levels of fatigue.