When Ohio residents get behind the wheel feeling slightly sleepy, they may not think it is a big deal. However, drowsy driving contributes to thousands of crashes a year and if the vehicles involved in the accidents are of disparate sizes, the possible devastation may be more intense as well. This may often be the case in truck accidents, where large 18 wheelers driven by drowsy truck drivers collide with smaller vehicles and cause serious injuries to accident victims.
Even the loss of one night of sleep can lead to extreme sleepiness and regularly losing a few hours of sleep a night can lead to slower reaction times, less vigilance and slower performance. People who sleep only four to five hours a night for a week need at least two full nights of proper sleep in order to recover from drowsiness.
Due to the nature of their job and the working hours, truck drivers often sleep very little at night. Since it is in their best interest to get from one location to another as soon as possible, truck drivers often end up driving with little breaks and throughout the night, compromising their sleep. Even though there are federal and state laws regulating the number of hours a driver can drive without sleeping, these regulations are often overlooked in favor of economic benefit.
Drowsy drivers are dangerous regardless of what vehicle they are driving, but when the vehicle is an 18-wheeler truck that takes skill to maneuver properly, the chances of a dangerous truck accident increase. If a tragic accident takes place, not only are the accident victim and their family members affected by the accident, but other drivers are also impacted as the material the truck is transporting could leak and the backlog of traffic could lead to secondary accidents. These accidents could be reduced if truck drivers and companies follow regulations and where they don’t, a personal injury lawsuit could hold them accountable and force companies to re-evaluate their policies.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Drowsy Driving,” accessed on Sept. 25, 2014