Why Do Truckers Drive Drowsy?
Drowsy truck drivers are surprisingly common on Arizona roadways, even though they endanger everyone around them by choosing to operate commercial vehicles while impaired. Clearly, this isn’t supposed to be the case, since federal regulations exist to specifically target the issue of drowsiness in the trucking industry. The FMCSA enforces policies known as hours of service regulations, which limit truckers to certain amounts of driving at certain times, such as only being able to drive for 11 hours a day, without splitting that driving between abnormally late and early times. Even so, these regulations aren’t always sufficient, as truckers often inevitably drive drowsy for one reason or another.
The Trucker’s Decisions
Drowsy driving is fundamentally a choice, provided that the trucker notices their state of exhaustion. Driving is a daily necessity for most truckers, but drowsiness is usually the result of one of two behaviors:
- Negligently ignoring unrelated fatigue, such as if the trucker is suffering from insomnia or general sleep deprivation as a result of their personal life, yet still chooses to go into work after an all-nighter.
- Working prohibited overtime via knowingly or ineptly violating hours of service regulations, usually out of a desire for additional pay or to satisfy the demands of dispatchers and managers.
In either scenario, the trucker will ultimately be liable if they choose to keep making deliveries while impaired by fatigue. Knowing this, why do truckers still often act like they have no choice in the matter, driving drowsy as though they “have to?” This is usually due to excessive pressure from a toxic work environment or other job-related worries.
Unhealthy Workplace Pressure
The trucking industry can be a high-pressure work environment even at the best of times, as companies and their employees are responsible for making timely deliveries to all manner of clientele across the country. Whether due to explicit pressure from management or implicit company culture, this often cultivates a customer-centric environment, in which truckers are expected to always make deliveries on time, barring explicit emergencies. As such, truckers may feel that while they technically could choose to stop driving and take a nap when tired, that doing so would put their employment at risk. This, paired with companies that may underpay their drivers, often results in truckers feeling obligated to keep working regardless of their ability to drive safely.
Avoiding Drowsy Driving Arizona Truck Accidents
The signs of drowsy driving are often subtle, yet unmistakable, especially given the immense size of commercial trucks. If you notice any of these driving behaviors in a truck, you should immediately distance yourself from them, as they may be
drowsy or otherwise impaired:
- Lane drifting
- Poor speed control
- Improper turn signal usage
- Slow reaction times at stoplights
- Suddenly jerking onto exits and turn-offs
Despite your best efforts to stay safe, you might still be hurt in an Arizona truck accident as a result of a trucker’s negligent decision to drive drowsy. If so, it’s vital that you talk to ELG as soon as possible to launch a thorough investigation into trucker tendencies or company practices that may have contributed to your crash. Call us today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Arizona truck accident attorneys, and we’ll make the claims process simple and easy for you, helping you to secure as much compensation as possible.