Although there are widespread public announcements warning of the dangers of fatigued driving, many people in Wilmington, Delaware might not think of it as a big deal. After all, we all have to go to work sometimes on little or no sleep, and, generally speaking, the only result is feeling exhausted and groggy by the end of the day.
Many truck companies may even share this attitude and therefore encourage their drivers to wink at the federal hours of service rules, if they even apply to a particular trucker, and instead push drivers toward longer hauls and therefore, supposedly, greater profit.
The problem with this type of attitude is it can lead to serious truck accidents because it is hard for an overly tired driver to maintain control of his or her truck. Some of the symptoms of fatigued driving are, in fact, very similar to what one might expect in a drunk or drugged driver.
Specifically, a trucker who has been at it for too long without getting enough rest can, in the most extreme cases, literally fall asleep at the wheel, at least for a few seconds. Obviously, a driver who is not awake can and often will cause an accident. Even if a driver does manage to stay awake, he or she can, if fatigued, drift in and out of a lane and will likely not be able to respond to hazards on the road quickly. It is also harder for fatigued drivers to pay attention and keep eyes on the road.
In short, driving fatigued is more than just getting behind the wheel a little tired. Fatigued truck driving is a dangerous activity that puts the lives of others at risk, and truck drivers and their employers have an obligation to avoid this risky activity.