Illinois drivers are accustomed to seeing 18-wheelers make local deliveries and hauling freight across thousands of miles of highway. Even though truckers are professionals with additional training and practice to their credit, they can still fall victim to fatigue and other distractions while behind the wheel.
While regulations require the drivers of 18-wheelers to take rest breaks at regular intervals, they can still experience drowsiness during their drive. Fatigue can impact the safety of the truck driver and those on the road in numerous ways, including:
- Loss of attention: A drowsy driver will slowly notice a drop in their ability to focus on the road. Yawning, rubbing their eyes and frequent blinking are physical symptoms that a driver is getting too tired to remain attentive on the traffic patterns surrounding them.
- Slowed reaction time: Fatigue slows a driver’s reaction time as the drowsiness gets progressively more serious. The driver will take longer to react to slowed traffic, safety signals or the vehicles surrounding him or her. This can be due to blurred perceptions or cognitive impairment.
- Poor decision-making: Often traced to cognitive sluggishness, a fatigued truck driver will often find themselves making poor decisions or taking longer than normal to decide at all. This can often be the result of the previous scenarios. For instance, the driver has lost focus, so he or she does not recognize a problem until it is too late to properly react.
A collision caused by a drowsy truck driver often results in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. These large trucks can demolish the smaller vehicles in their path, resulting in brain damage, spinal cord trauma, paralysis, crush injuries and amputation. The occupants of smaller vehicles will often face surgery, a hospital stay and lengthy physical therapy.