The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put rules in place regarding how many hours truck drivers can work during a week, when they need to take breaks and more. The idea here is to keep truckers from being overworked and overly fatigued behind the wheel. After all, many are paid based on production -- such as the amount of miles driven -- and so they could be tempted to work even when it wasn't safe to do so.
You may be asking yourself if truckers would really work when they were too tired to drive. If they were nodding off, wouldn't they pull over just to keep themselves out of harm's way, even if they wouldn't do it on anyone else's account?
While they may, what the researchers found was that a lot of truckers didn't know that they were too tired to be driving. They would be making clear mistakes, like accidentally drifting out of the proper lane, without even knowing they were doing it. As they got tired, it became harder and harder to judge the fatigue levels on their own.
In addition, a driver may technically be driving well, even if he or she was too tired, until an accident happened. One of the biggest issues with tired drivers is that they don't react as quickly to changing conditions on the road in front of them.
Despite the rule changes, large trucks still do account for thousands of deadly crashes every year. If you are injured or if a loved one is killed, you must know your rights to compensation.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue," Anthony Foxx, accessed Nov. 21, 2016