Fatigue is a natural reaction that occurs in the body when you have gone too long between periods of rest. Although many people consider fatigue to be only a minor annoyance, it is particularly dangerous when behind the wheel of a truck. As a truck driver, it’s essential to understand fatigue and the role it plays in your safety and the safety of those around you.
Fatigue Is a Major Problem
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that truck driver fatigue is a contributing factor in up to 30-40% of truck accidents. Additional studies have revealed that as many as one in five truck crashes occurs when the driver falls asleep at the wheel. This means that driver fatigue is not a small or isolated problem—it is a major concern that affects the safety of drivers across the trucking industry.
Fatigue Increases Quickly
Fatigue can escalate quickly; furthermore, the more fatigued you feel, the less likely you are to take action as your judgment becomes impaired. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that the risk of a fatigue-related crash doubles between your eighth and tenth consecutive hour of driving, then doubles again between your tenth and eleventh hours. Thus, it’s essential to structure your schedule to prevent fatigue, as well as take action as soon as you feel tired, rather than ignoring it.
Fatigue Can Be Prevented
Hours of service regulations exist to reduce trucker fatigue and improve health. Learning your body’s schedule and adjusting your driving hours to ensure you get adequate sleep can also help you avoid fatigue. Tools such as in-cab monitoring systems can help catch fatigue as soon as it occurs to alert drivers and carriers that action is needed.
Would you like to learn more about safety and the trucking industry? Stop by HDS Truck Driving Institute’s online blog for the latest information about trucking safety, regulations, and more. If you’d like to learn more about our CDL school and our enrollment process, you can also reach us by phone at (877) 205-2141.