Circumventing Trucker Fatigue Before It Turns Deadly

New Jersey roads and thoroughfares see the passage of many trucks each day, and more often than not, the drivers have traveled a significant distance. Inadequate rest or fatigue is often to blame for truck accidents.

In what is perhaps one of the most highly publicized truck accidents in history, CNN reported that a Walmart truck driver slammed into a limousine van carrying comedian James McNair and actor Tracy Morgan at 1 a.m. on June 7, 2014. After reconstructing the crash site, running tests and interviewing witnesses, authorities concluded that the driver was drowsy, and this factor had resulted in his impairment. Further investigation revealed that the driver had been awake for 28 consecutive hours, and had also driven 12 hours to work before even beginning his 14-hour shift.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these tips can help truckers circumvent debilitating fatigue before it puts their life and the lives of others at risk:

  • Be wary of medication: Truckers should never consume medications that are prone to cause drowsiness when they know their shift will soon be beginning.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Before a shift begins, a trucker should take extra care to make sure he or she is well rested and fully alert before getting behind the wheel.
  • Stop for a nap: Sometimes, truckers may need to pause their journey to nap for a bit, but doing so could be the difference between whether or not they arrive at their destination at all.
  • Look for signs of fatigue: After enough time behind the wheel, truckers begin to recognize personal signs of fatigue. Vigilant truckers will watch for these signs and stop their commute at the earliest sign of exhaustion.

Thirteen percent of truck drivers involved in an accident had fatigue to blame for their impairment.

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