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Driver fatigue’s role in truck accidents and regulations

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Truck Accidents |

Driver fatigue causes dangerous and costly accidents every year, leading to significant losses. Trucks and those driving them are commonly affected, transporting goods throughout the county. Kentucky, a freight hub, is included in this impact. Understanding driver fatigue is important for road safety and economic stability on a national level. 

Understanding driver fatigue

Extended driving hours exhaust truck drivers, leading to driver fatigue. Non-compliance with regulated hours of service, which ensure sufficient rest, is often one cause of this exhaustion. Fatigued drivers experience slowed reaction times and struggle to respond to traffic and road hazards. 

Driver fatigue is exacerbated by irregular sleep patterns and the disruption of the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This leads to decreased alertness and impaired cognitive function. Environmental factors also contribute to driver fatigue. Continuous exposure to noise, vibration, and the sedentary lifestyle of truck driving can increase physical and mental fatigue. 

Regulations to combat fatigue

To mitigate the risks of driver fatigue, several regulations have been implemented. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates specific service hours for truck drivers. These regulations cap driving times and mandate rest periods.

Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers must take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving and spend a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel within a 24-hour period. 

The importance of compliance

Regulation compliance is a legal requirement to help prevent truck accidents due to fatigue. In Kentucky, where major freeways like I-65 and I-75 see heavy truck traffic, compliance is particularly important. 

Addressing driver fatigue

While driver fatigue is a challenge in the trucking industry, understanding and following service hour regulations is essential for reducing the risk of fatigue-related accidents. Compliance ensures the safety of both truck drivers and other road users.