A truck driver waking up early with a cup of coffee in hand and hopping into the driver’s seat of their commercial truck, may not necessarily be putting others at risk. However, a truck driver who drove throughout the night and has not slept in 24 hours but still wants to keep going, could cause a terrible accident, as a trucking accident lawyer in Memphis, TN knows well. Sleep deprivation can be a very serious condition that should not be taken lightly. Truck drivers often have strict deadlines they must meet, and may try to make up on time by driving more hours than they should. Even though there are regulations that do not allow truckers to drive more than a certain duration per day, it can be easy to sneak in a few extra hours when no one else is around.
Here in the article below, we have answered multiple questions about truck driver fatigue, including symptoms, what microsleep means, and what to do if you are hit by a sleep-deprived truck driver.
What are signs that a truck driver next to me is fatigued?
Car drivers may be terrified to look over and see a trucker appearing sleepy while behind the wheel of a vehicle that may weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. A little bit of tiredness may still be safe, but a trucker who has not slept in over a day can easily cause a tragic wreck. Signs that a truck driver may be fatigue are listed here:
- Trouble focusing on the road
- Narrowing of attention straight ahead
- Head nodding
- Difficulty keeping eyes open
- Slow reaction time
- Appearance “zoned out”
- Constantly yawning
- Frequently rubbing eyes
- Drifting within lane
What does the term microsleep mean?
Microsleep is an episode of sleep that may last anywhere from less than a second, up to half a minute or so. During this time, the person may not be able to respond to outside stimuli at all. Perhaps the most frightening part about microsleep, is that the person may not even realize this is happening until it is too late. Drivers who are lacking quality and quantity sleep, may be more susceptible to experiencing bouts of microsleep while behind the wheel. Microsleep is the body’s way of desperately trying to make up for a lack of proper sleep through very small periods of forced rest.
Can I sue a truck driver for hitting me due to falling asleep?
Car drivers who have been hit by a trucker that fell asleep while driving, should call 9-1-1 for support immediately. The injuries associated with commercial truck-related accidents can be painful and even life-threatening. It is not unheard of for the car driver to be ushered to the emergency room for treatment because of a traumatic brain injury, excessive bleeding, deep wounds or neck injury. The costs for emergency medical care can add up quickly, resulting in the car driver facing substantial debt and financial hardships. Victims of such collisions may decide to lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company for these medical expenses and other damages.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Patterson Bray, for their insight into personal injury and truck accidents.