Truck drivers in Tennessee and across the U.S. can only drive 11 consecutive hours, after which they must be off the road for 10 consecutive hours. This law is meant to prevent truckers from driving drowsy, but unfortunately, many will break it in the effort to meet deadlines.
The danger of drowsy driving
Lack of sleep can affect you in the same way as alcohol. Being awake for 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10, which is above the 0.08 legal limit that 49 states have to adhere. Utah is the exception with a 0.05 legal limit.
Specifically, drowsiness can impair your awareness of your surroundings and make you misjudge things like the distance between yourself and another car or the speed at which that car is traveling. Drowsiness also causes slower reflexes, making it harder for drivers to, for example, swerve out of the way of road debris. The consequences, especially when the drowsy one is a trucker, can be collisions with catastrophic or even fatal injuries.
Various factors in trucker fatigue
Many truckers force themselves to drive drowsy, but other factors can contribute to their condition. Flu or the common cold can increase drowsiness. Alcohol is another obvious factor as half of all truckers worldwide admit to alcohol use. Certain medications can induce drowsiness as a side effect.
Legal representation for crash victims
Victims of motor vehicle accidents who find out the other side was drowsy or fell asleep behind the wheel may have a valid personal injury case on their hands. You may want a lawyer to evaluate your case in light of Tennessee’s comparative negligence rules, and if you hire the lawyer, he or she may represent you at the negotiation table, seeking a fair settlement with the trucking company’s own legal team.