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Surveyed truck drivers admit to problems caused by fatigue

Most of us are aware how our mental and physical abilities are affected when we are fatigued. And as such, we strive to get the rest we need so we are always at our best when at work. But some jobs require working long or irregular hours, which can make it very difficult to consistently get a good night's sleep. And over-the-road truck driving is certainly a job that falls into this category.

Just their basic circumstances can lead truck drivers to experience fatigue. First, often their income is based on the number of deliveries they make. This means they have an incentive to keep moving for as much of the time as possible. Moreover, sometimes their employers place added pressure on drivers to get their loads dropped quickly so they can get on to the next pickup and delivery. In the trucking industry, time is truly money.

So as a result, truck drivers may choose to ignore federal regulations requiring them to stop and get rest. Instead, they stay on the road as fatigue takes its toll and their cognitive skills erode, and the risk of nodding off becomes more pronounced.

And here is a sobering fact; the National Sleep Foundation conducted a study in which 15 percent of the truck drivers they surveyed admitted that fatigue caused them to be involved in at least one near-miss or serious incident while on the road.

The prevalence of fatigue among truck drivers should be a cause for concern among all California road users. And when a fatigued driver causes an accident, there should be some form of accountability.

If you or someone in your family has been harmed in a truck accident, a California personal injury attorney may be able to firmly establish the liability of the driver and/or the driver's employer in an effort to help you get appropriate compensation.

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