Long hours behind the wheel have caused us all drowsiness from time to time. This is a particularly common problem for drivers in the trucking industry. Driver fatigue is one of the biggest problems for truck drivers, and the top cause of Virginia tractor trailer accidents.

Fatigue is something we face every day. We cope in all sorts of ways, from caffeine to naps to energy drinks. For most of us, fatigue is not something that happens every day, so it may be easier to handle. Unfortunately, truck drivers are not so lucky. They face two different types of fatigue constantly, resulting in 30-40 percent of trucking accidents.

The first type of fatigue comes from a lack of sleep due to a busy schedule.  This is known as active fatigue. Drivers are always trying to get some type of cargo from point A to point B and on a specific time schedule. This forces many drivers to skimp on their sleep in order to get where they need to be on time. A lack of sleep begins to catch up with them and they begin to lose focus on the road and what they are doing. When one study surveyed truck drivers after an accident, they found that 57 percent of them said the cause was a lack of sleep. 

The other type of fatigue that plagues truck drivers is passive fatigue. This happens when drivers become too accustomed to a route or they have very little simulation from their environment. The lack of stimulation allows the driver to become lazy in their active attention and therefore lowers their reaction time and ability to handle a sudden change in the road. 

Although both of these types of fatigue would happen to anyone, truck drivers are at a much higher risk. Many studies are always in motion to figure out new and creative ways to help combat fatigue. There have been devices that monitor the drivers’ steering patterns, and penalties for drivers that push themselves too far. As of now there isn’t a perfect fix, and Culpeper tractor trailer accidents still happen. 

Semi-truck crashes can be very scary and cause many different types of problems for the other driver. If you are having trouble navigating the aftermath of a trucking accident, we are here to help. We have many knowledgeable people on staff here at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas to help guide you in the right direction. 

Andrew Thomas
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Civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
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Ron Melancon 10/16/2012 09:41 AM
We have idiots in the Virginia State Police who does not enforce the Annual INspection of all double axle trailers..... I have a violation rate of over 80% !! www.dangeroustrailers.org
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