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How truck drivers can manage their fatigue

Truck driver fatigue contributed to 13% of crashes analyzed in the Large Truck Crash Causation Study of 2007. However, there are many steps that drivers in Colorado and elsewhere can take to make sure that they are awake enough to operate their vehicles. For example, it is not a good idea to drive between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. because the human body tends to be naturally tired during these hours.

Drivers may also be vulnerable to diminished reaction time and impaired short-term memory function when they first wake up. Research has shown that accidents are most frequent in the first hour a person drives after waking up. Those who have taken a nap are encouraged to wait 15 minutes before they resume driving. Naps of between 10 and 45 minutes are most effective at helping truck operators overcome drowsiness.

Eating healthy meals at regular intervals throughout the day can help a driver avoid fatigue and stay more alert behind the wheel. Drivers are also encouraged to stay away from medications that could make them drowsy. Typically, there will be a warning label on a pill bottle or package if a drug increases the risk of becoming lethargic or falling asleep. The warning will specifically discourage that person from driving after taking it.

Drivers, passengers or others who have been hurt in a serious accident may experience chronic pain or memory loss. They may also be unable to work, go to school or otherwise live a reasonably normal life. Injured victims who file a personal injury claim may be compensated for lost wages, future earnings or other damages related to truck accidents caused by driver negligence. Generally speaking, driving while tired or while impaired by prescription medication or other substances is considered to be a negligent act.

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