Despite rest regulations aimed at keeping fatigued truckers off the roads, drowsy driving accidents involving large trucks are all too common on the roads throughout Georgia and elsewhere. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck driver drowsiness was a factor in 13% of all collisions involving tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles.

Numerous factors contribute to truckers driving while overly tired or fatigued. Even for the well-rested, physical or mental exertion can result in fatigue. Drowsy driving among commercial truck operators may occur when drivers do not get enough sleep, due to working long hours, or as a result of engaging in strenuous work or other activities.

According to the National Safety Council, fatigued motorists have a three times greater chance of getting into a collision. Drowsiness may adversely affect drivers’ attentiveness while driving, hazard awareness and reaction times. Many truck drivers and other motorists fail to recognize the toll that drowsiness may have on their driving abilities. Going over 20 hours without sleep, however, causes impairments akin to those of having a 0.08% blood-alcohol concentration level.

Since the signs of being fatigued are difficult to spot, large truck operators and other drivers may not even realize they are too tired to safely operate their vehicles. No one knows the exact moment that sleep comes over the body and as a result of fatigue, people may experience brief, involuntary periods of micro-sleep. If they are traveling at highway speeds at the time such a period of inattention occurs, motorists drive the distance of a football field without being aware of their vehicles or surroundings.