There are all kinds of reasons that large truck drivers get into collisions with other vehicles, but among them is a common cause: drowsiness. Working for long hours behind the wheel is enough to make anyone tired, but that exhaustion has the potential to lead to the driver nodding off and causing a serious collision.
In the 2018 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Federal Highway Administration, it was shown that 5,005 people lost their lives in crashes involving buses and large trucks. The data went on to show that there were some states in which it was more likely to get into a large truck crash:
- New York
- North Carolina
Those states alone were where 51% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses took place between 2015 and 2017.
Fatal crashes are awful, but it’s also important to think about those who have their lives changed forever by serious injuries. Around 130,000 people suffer from injuries caused by truck accidents annually. Since 13% of drivers were reportedly fatigued at the time of those collisions, it’s necessary to correct that issue to help prevent catastrophic injuries and deaths in the future.
Avoiding fatigue behind the wheel
Truck drivers have an obligation to prevent fatigue behind the wheel. How can they do this?
One of the things they have to keep in mind is their hours of service requirements. They cannot work beyond these without a break, because it is known that doing so can lead to fatigue, drowsiness and a higher risk of collisions.
Another thing they need to do is to take breaks as recommended while they’re working. They should eat at regular intervals and pull over if they start to see the signs of drowsiness, like nodding off or forgetting the last few miles traveled.
As a driver in a smaller vehicle, report a driver if you see them weaving or hitting the rumble strips on the highway. Though it may slow them down to get pulled over, you could help get a dangerous truck driver off the road and prevent a crash.