It is a well-known fact that humans require sleep in order to function. When individuals suffer from lack of sleep, they are unable to function properly or drive safely. Many people do not get enough sleep because of their work schedules, disrupted sleeping patterns, or a sleeping disorder; however, some are unaware that they suffer from “sleep debt” and continue to go about their day—even driving.
It’s a scary thought that someone who lacks sleep could be driving next to you on a Kentucky road. When people do not get enough sleep, their reactions and judgment are dulled, they are not alert, and they often drive in an unsafe manner. Our bodies require enough sleep in order to drive safely. Interestingly enough, many commercial truck drivers are affected by a lack of sleep, which leaves them feeling drowsy.
When drowsy truck drivers are at the wheel of an 80,000 pound semi-truck, it can be disastrous. Even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set hours-of-service regulations to limit the driving hours of truck drivers, some truckers may still suffer from lack of sleep due to:
- Sleep apnea – This sleeping disorder causes people to take shallow breaths or pause during breathing while sleeping, resulting in a constant drowsiness when awake. A recent study published in the journal SLEEP tested 517 long-distance truckers for sleep apnea and found that 41 percent of the truck drivers had this sleeping disorder. Truck drivers may also suffer from narcolepsy or other medical conditions that puts them at an increased risk for causing a Northern Kentucky semi-truck accident.
- Driving pattern – Because truck drivers take advantage of the open roads overnight, they tend to sleep during the day and drive at night; however, our bodies are programmed to sleep at night. Working irregular hours can increase a truck driver’s chance of falling asleep at the wheel.
- Driving under the influence – Even if a truck driver is not “drunk,” mixing prescription drugs or alcohol with an already tired, overworked truck driver increases a trucker’s probability of driving drowsy.
Many truck drivers suffer from fatigue because of the aforementioned reasons. Additionally, even when truck drivers do sleep, their sleep is often fragmented. And research shows that those who continue to get less than six hours of sleep per day over time will suffer the effects of sleep deprivation, which includes drowsy driving. When truckers ignore these facts and continue to drive tired, innocent motorists may suffer the results of their negligent actions.
If you or someone you love was injured in a Lexington or Louisville trucking accident, please call the Law Office of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Northern Kentucky accident attorney at (859) 578-4444 or (888) 606-5297 and find out more about your rights.