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What Works and Doesn’t Work to Prevent Drowsy Driving Truck Accidents

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Truck Accidents on October 14, 2020

Truck drivers in Oregon have a difficult job and spend long hours on the road. Sleep deprivation is one of the most common problems they face and one of the most potentially dangerous, as it increases accident risks. Truck accidents in Portland endanger nearby motorists and often result in serious personal injuries. To protect everyone involved, truckers need to be aware of what works, as well as what doesn’t work, to combat drowsy driving. 

Drowsy Driving Dangers in Oregon

Drowsy driving is a major problem on U.S. roads. According to statistics from the Sleep Foundation, it is an underlying factor in nearly 20 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. Truck drivers in particular are among those most at risk. 

Spending long, monotonous hours on the road can easily make them drowsy while demanding schedules often deprive them of the sleep they need. Even missing out on an hour of sleep can impact driving abilities in much the same way as driving under the influence. It decreases their vision, reflexes, judgment, and coordination, making truck accidents more likely to happen. 

There are a variety of ways truckers attempt to deal with this problem. Unfortunately, not only do many of these fail to work, but they can actually increase truck accident risks. The following are tactics that do not work in combating drowsy driving:

  • Listening to music: Listening to upbeat music may distract you momentarily but does nothing to improve your driving abilities. 
  • Opening a window: Fresh air can be invigorating and is preferable to heat, but it does not make up for a lack of sleep;
  • Drinking coffee or soda: While the caffeine and sugar in these beverages can give you a lift, you are likely to be even more tired once the initial ‘rush’ passes;
  • Using stimulants: Over the counter medications and illegal drugs should not be used under any circumstances when driving. In addition to potentially getting a DUI, these drugs result in impairments that increase truck accident risks. 

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

Combating truck driver fatigue is a major concern in the trucking industry. When truck accidents in Portland occur as a result of drowsy driving, the company the driver works for can be held liable for the medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses victims suffer as a result. In dealing with the problem, there are some tactics that work: 

  • Avoid overscheduling drivers;
  • Make sure they take frequent breaks while on the road;
  • Emphasize the need to get a good night’s sleep during days off;
  • Encourage them to visit their doctor to address potential sleep disorders;
  • Advice them to pull over immediately and take a 20 minute nap if they feel their eyes getting heavy while behind the wheel. 

Contact Johnston Law Firm Today for Help

When truck accidents happen and result in serious injuries, the Johnston Law Firm P.C. helps victims get the compensation they are entitled to in a claim. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online today.

Marc Johnston
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