Helping Truck Drivers Manage Driver Fatigue

Tired truck driver

Truck drivers work long hours, face strenuous deadlines and often have rigorous schedules. Drivers can suffer from a lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, mental or physical exertion, all which can impair their driving performance. Is it any wonder that one of the causes for truck accidents is driver fatigue?

Impacts of Driver Fatigue

Fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance. Driver fatigue may be due to a lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities, or a combination of other factors. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash. [Source: FMCSA]

Questions? Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.

Tips to Manage Driver Fatigue

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put together the following list of tips and facts to help drivers understand and better manage fatigue.

  • Truck driver hours of service truck drivers truck accidents extended work hours strenuous deadlinesGet enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. Being drowsy behind the wheel can impair your response time, making it more likely you could be involved in an accident.

Did You Know: A study by the FMCSA found that driver alertness was related to “time-of-day” more so than “time-on-task.” Most people are less alert at night, especially after midnight. This drowsiness may be enhanced if you have been on the road for an extended period.

  • Eat Healthy. Eat Regularly.

Did You Know: A recent study conducted on the sleeping and driving habits of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers concluded that an unhealthy lifestyle, long working hours, and sleeping problems were the main causes of drivers falling asleep while driving.

  • Take Naps.

Did You Know: Naps aimed at preventing drowsiness are generally more effective in maintaining a driver’s performance than naps taken when a person is already drowsy.

  • Pay Attention to Medication Warning Labels. Don’t drive after taking any medications that may make you drowsy.

Did You Know: Cold pills are one of the most common medicines that may make you drowsy. If you must drive with a cold, it is safer to suffer from the cold than drive under the effects of the medicine.

  • Drowsy driving driver fatigue lack of adequate sleep physical exertion impair driving performanceBe Sure You Know the Signs of Drowsiness. Signs include frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and blurred vision.

Did You Know: Research has indicated that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, which is legally intoxicated and leaves you at equal risk for a crash.

  • Do NOT Rely on “Alertness” Tricks to Keep You Awake. Alertness tricks are things like turning up the radio, drinking coffee, and opening the window. These offer a false sense of alertness and don’t last very long.

Did You Know: It takes several minutes for caffeine to get into your system and deliver the energy boost you need. If you are tired when you first drink a caffeinated drink, it may not take effect as quickly as you expect, and, if you are a regular caffeine drinker, the effect might be much smaller.

Driver Fatigue Rules from FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates and monitors trucking companies throughout the United States, setting forth regulations governing commercial motor vehicles and trucking companies.

Within the FMCSA Regulations are a set of rules referred to as Hours of Service (HOS). These regulations govern commercial truck drivers and the hours they work and drive.

On June 1, 2020, FMCSA revised four provisions of the hours of service regulations to provide greater flexibility for drivers without adversely affecting safety. Motor carriers are required to comply with the new HOS regulations starting on September 29, 2020.

Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

Truck accidents due to fatigue can be devastating, leaving you suffering from severe physical and emotional injuries. Nash & Franciskato, a Kansas City based personal injury law firm, represents those injured in trucking accidents.

If you need to understand your legal options and the likelihood of obtaining compensation after an accident, contact our experienced trucking accident attorneys at (877) 284-6600One of our experienced staff will speak with you personally and will provide you with a free, no-obligation review of your case.



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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published August 10, 2015. It was reviewed on March 8, 2023, updated for content and accuracy and re-published on March 10, 2023.

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