Because of life’s stresses and demands, many people drive drowsy on the road without full awareness of how dangerous it is. Research has found that fatigued driving is as bad as alcohol-impaired driving. Texas law enforcement could charge individuals with reckless driving if they cause an accident while fatigued.
Driving after 20 hours of no sleep
When a person goes 20 hours without sleep, they drive a vehicle as if they had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, which is 0.04 above the legal limit for commercial drivers. The law limits commercial drivers to a smaller BAC even when they are driving their personal vehicles. Thus, truck drivers shouldn’t operate any vehicle on 20 hours of no sleep.
Longer sleep deprivation is even worse; it doesn’t stop at a BAC equivalent of 0.08. Twenty-four hours without sleep is a BAC equivalent of 0.10, which the law sees as very impaired. To reduce trucking accidents, trucking drivers should always get enough sleep each night.
Decreased awareness of hazards
Drivers have decreased awareness of hazards when they are drowsy. The severity of their reduced awareness increases the more hours a driver goes without sleep. Trucking accidents are often serious and fatal for passengers of smaller cars because semi-trucks are significantly larger and heavier than regular vehicles on the road. If a trucker drives a HAZMAT truck, the dangers increase even more because the truck has hazardous material that could cause explosions, radiation illness and other serious injuries in an accident.
Truckers can help reduce accidents by never operating a vehicle when they have gone more than 16 hours without sleep. Drowsy driving can lead to serious accidents and open the door to personal injury lawsuits as victims seek compensation for their many losses.