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Because of their large size, tractor-trailers can cause significant damage when they collide with other vehicles. Collisions between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles can have a variety of causes. However, a drowsy truck driver is a common cause for this type of crash.

Drowsy driving can mean a driver fell asleep at the wheel. However, it can also mean that the driver was impaired by lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation can cause some of the same types of impairments that drinking alcohol can cause.

Hours of service regulations are designed to prevent fatigue

To help prevent drowsy driving, truck drivers are restricted in how many hours they are allowed to drive. These limitations, called hours of service regulations, are set by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

However, sometimes truck drivers violate these regulations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24% of truck drivers often continue to drive despite dangerous conditions, such as fatigue. The CDC adds that almost 50% of drivers sometimes continue to drive despite dangerous conditions.

How to tell if a truck driver is too drowsy to drive

When you share the road with tractor-trailers, it is important to try to stay out of their blind spots and allow truck drivers plenty of space to maneuver. However, if you believe that a truck driver may be driving recklessly, it may be appropriate to allow even more space between you and the tractor trailer. It may even be appropriate to safely pull over and call law enforcement.

A truck driver may be too drowsy to drive if the tractor-trailer:

  • Drifts from its lane
  • Repeatedly hits the rumble strip
  • Swerves for no apparent reason
  • Tailgates the car in front of it

If you were injured in a crash caused by the reckless actions of a truck driver, you may consider taking legal action. Depending on your situation, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.