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Signs of Truck Driver Fatigue

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Posted on February 15, 2024

We often share the highway with large commercial trucks that transport goods across the country, trusting their drivers to operate these vehicles safely. However, given the long hours and grueling schedules that truck drivers often face, fatigue is a common issue—and a serious risk to everyone else on the road

If you are driving near a commercial truck in Utah, it’s crucial to recognize the warning signs of truck driver fatigue so you can best protect yourself and your passengers.

Fatigue Is a Serious Risk for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers are particularly susceptible to fatigue due to the nature of their work. The long hours on the road, often during the night or early morning, disrupt normal sleep patterns and can lead to exhaustion. Some truckers even turn to amphetamines and other drugs to keep themselves awake and alert during these long hauls.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put in place regulations to limit driving hours and mandate rest periods in an effort to combat this issue. Despite these measures, driving while drowsy remains a dangerous reality in the trucking industry. Fatigue can impair judgment, slow reaction times, and in severe cases, lead to the driver falling asleep at the wheel, causing serious accidents.

Common Warning Signs of a Fatigued Trucker

When a truck driver is fatigued, they are not in a position to operate a large, heavy-duty commercial vehicle safely. If you are on the road, being able to identify a tired trucker could potentially save your life.

Here are some common signs of fatigue in truck drivers:

  • Repeated yawning
  • Erratic acceleration or deceleration
  • Disregarding traffic signs or signals
  • Making swerving or jerking movements
  • Difficulty keeping the head up
  • The inability to keep their eyes open
  • Tailgating other vehicles closely
  • Drifting into another lane or onto the shoulder of the road without apparent reason
  • Braking frequently or abruptly without a clear cause
  • Showing a general lack of focus and paying insufficient attention to the road

If you believe that a truck driver is fatigued, maintain a safe distance from the vehicle. If possible, pull over in a safe location and report the driver to the police by calling 911. Explain that you have reason to believe that the driver is drowsy, and provide the dispatcher with as much information about the vehicle as possible. In the event the fatigued truck driver causes an accident, call our truck accident attorneys in St. George.

Your Options If You Are Injured Due to Truck Driver Fatigue

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, it’s important to know that you have the right to pursue legal action. In Utah, which operates under a fault accident system, victims of truck collisions are entitled to seek compensation through both insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits

However, navigating the complexities of a truck accident claim can be challenging. The involvement of commercial vehicles introduces multiple parties, including the driver, the trucking company, and insurance providers, each with their own interests. Given these complexities, working with a St. George personal injury attorney is crucial.

A lawyer can help you understand your rights, gather the necessary evidence to prove the driver’s fatigue, and negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in court if necessary. As soon as possible following the collision, schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about your next steps.