The Risk of Drowsy Truck Drivers Over the Holidays
As the holiday season draws near, motorists of all variety are bound to do more driving in the bustle of shopping, visiting relatives, and work. It pays dividends to make responsible decisions and avoid the dangers of drowsy driving yourself, yet this might not be enough, as you can’t control the waves of drowsy truck drivers that will take to the road as well.
Hours of Service Regulations and Holiday Pressure
All truckers, bus drivers, and similar commercial transport employees are subject to laws known as trucker hours of service regulations, which limit the amount of driving truckers can do over certain periods of time. For example, truckers can only drive for 11 hours a day, 60 hours per week, and must take a 30-minute break every eight hours.
On paper, this helps to dramatically lower the number of drowsy truck drivers on the road, giving these employees enough time off to get proper rest, yet in practice, this often isn’t the case. With Christmas deadlines bearing down and a desire from companies to satisfy all of their customers, many truckers are pressured to deliver on-time no matter what, even if they have to violate hours of service regulations to do so. These violations can stem from underpaid truckers themselves in a desire for overtime, or from overbearing companies who pressure their employees to ignore the law. In either case, truckers often do far more driving than legally permissible, exhausting themselves in the process.
Recognizing Drowsy Truck Drivers
If you end up encountering a drowsy truck driver, you may be able to recognize signs of fatigue well before they can cause a potentially catastrophic truck accident, giving you time to report the driver and move out from their path of travel. These symptoms of impaired, distracted, and fatigued truck driving should never be ignored:
- Drifting between lanes.
- Slowly accelerating or decelerating in excess.
- Suddenly correcting speed from time to time.
- Leaving turn signals engaged.
- Taking freeway exits and turns at the last possible moments.
- Displaying signs of aggressive driving or road rage.
If you notice a drowsy truck driver, honking to get their attention likely won’t help, as they may be too impaired to connect your honking to their level of fatigue. Instead, pull over, call 911, and report the dangerous driver to the police if you’re worried that they can’t drive safely.
Get Help After an Arizona Truck Accident
If you’re injured in an Arizona truck accident and suspect that drowsy driving was involved, it can be difficult to prove that suspicion on your own. Unlike with alcohol impairment, driver fatigue is nearly impossible to detect by the time police arrive at the scene, as adrenaline will likely be keeping the truck driver alert and awake at that time.
Instead, you’ll need to get the help of an Arizona truck accident attorney who can help you examine the evidence and demonstrate that a truck driver violated hours of service regulations, driving drowsy as a result. ELG has extensive experience with truck accident investigations, so give us a call at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.