In New Mexico, truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours a day; federal law can extend that time to 14 hours after being off duty for ten hours. Compared to other professions, that’s a lot of time spent working, often leading to drowsiness.
How fatigue affects truck drivers
Fatigue is not a condition but rather a symptom of lack of sleep. As earlier stated, truck drivers in New Mexico often have to go long distances and drive through the night or work an extra shift with little rest due to tight deadlines. This can lead to exhaustion, resulting in poor decision-making skills, slower reaction times and difficulty focusing on the road.
The symptom of fatigue has a gradual onset, and most drivers can barely detect it until it is too late. Moreover, other factors can exacerbate it, like drug use, bad roads and working unusual shifts.
The consequences of fatigue
The consequence of fatigue in truck drivers can be severe, ranging from motor vehicle accidents and injuries to death. Experts say that driving while tired has a similar effect to driving with an alcohol blood content of 0.10. For reference, in New Mexico, a police officer can arrest you for driving a truck with a BAC level of 0.04.
How to avoid truck driver fatigue
The best way to prevent fatigue from occurring is by getting enough rest. Truck drivers should get at least eight hours of sleep before beginning a long haul and take regular breaks. They should also stay hydrated and meet their nutritional needs while on the road. Additionally, truckers should avoid taking medications with sedative effects before operating a vehicle, as this will only increase the chances of becoming drowsy. If symptoms of exhaustion persist despite these precautions, truckers should not hesitate to pull over and take a nap.
Truck driver fatigue can be a serious problem in New Mexico that no one should take lightly. Understanding the dangers of driving while tired and taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening can save a lot of lives. Not to mention, even if everyone survives, the consequences are still far-reaching; they can include costly medical expenses, legal issues and long-term damage to the driver’s reputation.