The causes of semitruck wrecks range from truckers' actions to defective equipment. The issue with these crashes is that some are preventable. For example, ones that are due to a trucker's fatigue could be stopped if the trucker had taken time to rest when the signs of fatigue showed up.
Unfortunately, it isn't always easy for a trucker to stop working when they feel fatigued. They are often expected to meet tight deadlines that don't make it easy for them to stop when they need to. There is also the matter of truckers having to follow Hours of Service regulations that are set by the federal government.
Causes of fatigue in truckers
There are many causes of trucker fatigue, but it might surprise some people to know that lack of sleep isn't always the reason. It is possible for a trucker to suffer from this condition if they are driving on familiar roads, have a hot or stuffy cab, or have medical conditions that contribute to fatigue.
Another issue is highway hypnosis, which can happen when the trucker is driving during the night and becomes hypnotized by the passing lights and drone of the engine. Even emotional factors might lead to fatigue because of the drain that stress has on the body.
Methods to combat fatigue
Hours of Service regulations set a limit to how many hours truckers can operate their vehicles before they have to take a break. For drivers who are carrying property, this is an 11-hour driving limit and a minimum of 10 hours off duty after that 11-hour period. If the driver also does non-driving work, they can't drive beyond the 14th hour of work, even if they haven't yet reached 11 hours behind the wheel.
Commercial drivers who are carrying passengers have a shorter limit. They can only drive 10 hours before needing to take an 8-hour break. If they have other duties, they can't drive past their 15th hour of work, even if they don't reach the 10-hour driving limit.
Trucking companies can also help to prevent trucker fatigue from causing accidents by empowering these professional drivers to take breaks when needed. Even though this might mean having to extend the delivery deadline, safety is worth it.
If a fatigued trucking accident does occur in Missouri, the victims might opt to seek compensation for the damages. This can include expenses like medical care, lost wages and similar financial impacts.