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Sleep habits are a part of truck accident prevention

Many people get tired while they are working, but it is rare that fatigue in the case of, for example, an accountant, would lead to the physical harm or death of another person. For those whose work is behind the wheel and on the roads, fatigue is not only a danger to others but to them as well.

Driver fatigue leads to accidents in Alabama and other areas of the country, particularly where commercial vehicle traffic is heavy. When a trucker is sleepy behind the wheel he poses a grave threat to many, which is why there are rules regarding sleep and why it's important to reassess sleep requirements for the commercial driving industry.

A sleep scientist recently conducted a study in which he had different drivers follow varying sleep schedules. He then had those subjects drive in a simulator in order to assess whether the sleeping variances impacted driving behaviors and sleepiness. The following were the different sleep routines:

  • Subjects slept for a longer, consolidated time at night (approximately 8 hours).
  • Subjects slept for a longer, consolidated time during the day (approximately 6 hours).
  • Subjects slept for two split periods during the day (each about 5 hours long).

Research found a difference in the general sleepiness of the subjects depending on the sleep schedules they had. The schedule that left drivers the least rested reportedly was the consolidated sleep time during the day. Therefore, the research suggests to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that split sleep schedules and night sleep schedules should be the requirement for commercial drivers.

The current sleep regulations allow for a split sleep schedule but specify that one of the shifts must be eight hours long. Based on the study, the split sleep schedule could be approached with more flexibility. Basically, according to the research, one chunk of daytime sleep is the least effective in creating alert drivers, drivers who would probably be less likely to cause an accident due to fatigue.

Our Alabama truck accident lawyers know how to help those victimized by negligent drivers and those drivers' negligent employers. Fatigue is no excuse when someone causes a wreck and turns a victim's life around.

Source: truckinginfo.com, "Split Sleep Schedule Found Better than Daytime Sleep," Jan. 18, 2013

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