Driving a commercial truck is one of the most stressful occupations in California. Not only are they driving the heaviest vehicles on the road, but they are often encouraged to drive overtime by their employers. Drivers commonly drive both the daily hours limit and the monthly shift limits attempting to be good teamwork employees. And those who are contracted drivers understand that the truck does not generate any profit unless it is on the road to a destination. This becomes a dangerous combination that can quickly result in accidents, many of them stemming from being drowsy while in transit.
The first problem that a drowsy truck driver experiences is the inability to pay close attention. Frontal vehicles can be difficult to gauge with respect to distance, especially at night, and situations such as insufficient lighting on some vehicles can make them difficult to spot until a driver does not have time to stop. This is a primary cause of many motor vehicle accidents involving trucks.
The decisions that truck drivers make behind the wheel are crucial to highway safety. Not only are they moving significant weights in and out of traffic but they are also prone to not allowing sufficient distance when changing lanes. And many times they change lanes when it would be best to drive slower and be more patient. Speeding is also a bad driving decision that results in many truck accidents.
Another issue that occurs naturally when drivers get tired is a tendency for slower reflexes. Truck drivers must be alert at all times, and even those who are wide awake and coherent can suffer from being tired after a long operating shift. The arms and legs tire from constant moving even when drivers are sitting in their seats.
Overwork is not the only factor that can contribute to drowsy driving by truck drivers. Many also suffer from a lack of sleep out on the road. Even drivers who work a daily turnaround job can have difficulty getting enough rest when attempting to maximize their driving limit.