How Truck Driver Sleep Habits Can Increase the Risks of Car Accidents

Truck Driver SleepAside from doctors, firefighters, and other service people, truckers probably have one of the most difficult occupations for regulating sleep patterns. In addition to the long, tiresome hours of driving on the road, truckers frequently have varying schedules, preventing them from getting into any natural rhythm or routine. Therefore, even when a commercial driver has a ten-hour break, they are unlikely to enjoy a full ten hours of sleep. Inconsistent sleep habits make truckers more likely to drive while they are drowsy, which puts themselves and other drivers at risk for serious injury in truck accidents.

Where Truck Drivers Sleep

If you have ever taken a long-distance road trip that required travel after dark, you have likely noticed the truck stops, rest areas, and interstate on and off ramps lined with big rigs. However, not all drivers travel long distances; in fact, many truck drivers never leave the vicinity of their city. These drivers are local truck drivers, which affords them the luxury of going home most evenings and sleeping in their bed.

On the other end of the spectrum, long-haul truck drivers can spend weeks or months at a time away from their home, and hotel costs during this time can get expensive. Most of these drivers have an extended cabin in their vehicle known as a “sleeper cab” or “sleeper berth.” This space behind the driver and passenger seats is typically large enough to hold a mattress and a few other items or appliances. Unfortunately, these small spaces can make it difficult for truckers to get the quality sleep that will allow them to remain fully awake and aware while they are on the road.

When Truck Drivers Sleep

Sleep is imperative for healthy living. Without sleep, a person’s body lacks the ability to restore itself fully. Ongoing sleep deficiency causes many health problems and slows brain function. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving plays a role in 328,000 crashes each year, including 109,000 injuries and 6,400 deaths.

Truck drivers know and understand the necessity of sleep, but due to the demanding, deadline-oriented nature of the industry, truckers rarely get enough sleep to stave off drowsiness. To meet deadlines and achieve a good payday, many drivers log rest time during the hours a crew takes to either load or unload their shipment. After completing a job, a driver will usually maneuver to an approved truck stop to try to find some shut eye. However, parking spaces are often unavailable. Finding a place to sleep can take an excessive amount of time, and this search can take multiple hours in some locations. After parking, a driver will usually need to bathe and get some food, often leaving them with only four or five hours of sleeping time, if they fall asleep immediately.

Injured By a Drowsy Truck Driver?

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a collision with a sleep-deprived truck driver, you should understand that in many cases, these drivers are in control of their logbooks and which delivery times are available. Many choose to take more deliveries than they can handle at the expense of sleep hours in order to get the best payday possible. However, no paycheck is worth endangering the lives of the general public.

A Santa Clara County truck accident attorney can help obtain log books and comb through them for any inconsistencies that may have led to your accident. We will work to demonstrate liability and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at (408) 289-1417 to schedule a free consultation today.

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