Why do some truck drivers risk fatigued driving?

Thinking about how massive trucks are, one might wonder why truck drivers would risk getting behind the wheel while fatigued. This reality can be scary for those who usually share the roads with trucks and semi-trucks. Every time passenger vehicles drive past one of these massive vehicles, there’s always a possibility that the driver operating it is drowsy.

The Department of Transport has even established Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for commercial drivers. However, incidents of non-compliance do occur. Fatigued driving is bad enough when operating a passenger vehicle, let alone a commercial truck. It’s a dangerous gamble that can result in all sorts of devastating vehicle accidents.

Economic pressures and tight deadlines

Many people outside the trucking industry may be surprised to learn that truck drivers are paid by the mile rather than by the hour. This is one of the primary reasons why many truck drivers push through fatigue. In their attempt to cover as many miles in a limited time, truck drivers put themselves and other road users at risk of devastating accidents. Getting enough sleep and taking breaks when they’re exhausted can directly reduce a driver’s earnings.

Furthermore, many truck drivers work for companies that have established just-in-time delivery models. Therefore, they’re always under immense pressure to meet tight deadlines. Late deliveries could tarnish a company’s brand image and lead to financial penalties for drivers. It seems like most truck drivers are incentivized to maintain an unrealistic pace to make a living and meet their companies’ performance expectations.

False sense of security and underestimating fatigue’s grip

Naturally, when people do something enough times, they can develop a misleading overconfidence in their capabilities. Truck drivers who’ve been in the trucking industry for a while may assume that they know their roots like the back of their hands. With this false sense of security, they may not anticipate unexpected changes in road conditions.

Other truck drivers may assume that the long hours spent behind the wheel have equipped them to overcome fatigue. It doesn’t help that drowsiness tends to creep up gradually, making it harder to recognize the warning signs. By the time a driver realizes they’re too tired to continue, it may be too late to pull over safely.

Fatigued driving among truck drivers remains a perversive issue that makes roads unsafe for other road users. Passenger vehicle drivers who get involved in truck accidents with fatigued truck drivers can pursue compensation from the respective drivers and/or the trucking companies that employ them. Appropriate legal guidance can make the situation clearer for affected motorists.

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