Every spring, Chicago residents must set their clocks an hour ahead as Daylight Saving Time begins for the year. It takes many of us a few days to adjust to the lost hour of sleep and the shift to our internal clocks. That likely means more drowsy drivers on the roads than usual.
However, fatigued driving is a problem year-round. Too many Chicagoans and Americans in general do not get enough sleep and still try to operate a multi-ton machine like a car, pickup truck or SUV. Lack of sleep increases the risk that a driver will make a mistake and cause a terrible car accident. This is especially true for commercial truck drivers, who operate huge vehicles that can cause even more damage than the average passenger vehicle.
Truck drivers and fatigue
Truckers can be especially vulnerable to drowsy driving. They work long hours, spending most of their time sitting behind the wheel. Despite federal regulations, trucking companies often pressure their drivers to stay on the road and cut short their meal and rest breaks. As a result, too many truckers are on our nation’s highways despite a chronic lack of sleep, which can lead to:
- Trouble concentrating.
- Drifting between lanes or onto the shoulder.
- Periods of “micro-sleep” which last a few seconds, during which time the driver is not processing what is happening around them.
The potential for disaster is high when one of the largest vehicles on the road is being driven by someone affected by lack of sleep. After a truck accident, victims who suffered life-threatening and disabling injuries may be able to pursue damages from the trucking company along with the driver themselves. Negligent hiring, training and scheduling practices could have contributed to the conditions that injured you.