Residents of New Mexico have seen the essential role that truck drivers play in keeping stores stocked with foods and goods. To keep shelves stocked, business owners may be tempted to have truckers drive for longer periods than legally allowed. This could result in truck driver fatigue.
Truck driver fatigue is as serious as driving under the influence. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that being awake for 18 hours straight has the same effect on the brain as having a blood-alcohol level of 0.05. Being awake for 24 hours is the equivalent of having a blood-alcohol level of 0.10, which is higher than the legal limit in most states. Truck drivers are only allowed to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.04 or less.
Along with not getting enough sleep, not getting enough breaks while driving can also cause fatigue to set in. Other factors that could play a role in truck driver fatigue include:
- Substance abuse
- Extreme stress
- Transitions between shifts
Those who employ truck drivers must make sure that they are receiving frequent breaks and getting enough rest. Drivers should be in good physical health to prevent motor vehicle accidents from occurring.
Accidents involving heavy trucks can result in serious injuries and fatalities. In 2018, almost 3,000 accidents occurred in New Mexico that involved truck drivers. These accidents resulted in thousands of injuries and 60 fatalities.
If a truck driver was found at-fault in a motor vehicle accident, the driver or the company employing the driver may be responsible for damages to the injured party. A personal injury lawyer might look into why a car accident occurred. If it was due to fatigue, the lawyer may be able to prove that the truck driver was negligent, and damages might be awarded.