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Fatigued truck drivers could unknowingly sleep while driving

Most of us have had the experience of being deprived of sleep. We know that the effects of not getting enough sleep are not just unpleasant, in certain instances, these effects can become very dangerous.

We know that if we are getting drowsy, it is time to hit the sack. However, sometimes circumstances dictate that we soldier on and sleep when we can. When a truck driver forgoes his or her sleep breaks and stays behind the wheel, he or she becomes a hazard to all other road users.

According to the director of the Center for Sleep at a New York City university, sleep deprivation can bring about some very serious symptoms. Even those suffering from minor sleep deprivation can experience problems with emotional and cognitive function.

One of the most potentially dangerous symptoms of sleep deprivation is called "microsleep." According to the director of the Center for Sleep, during a microsleep, a person can have very brief sleep sessions. A person experiencing a microsleep may have his or her eyes open, but is essentially blind. During a microsleep, the brain is not processing information.

A microsleep at an office desk or in front of the TV is no big deal. However, a truck driver experiencing a microsleep will likely be unable to react to the conditions of the road. This could lead to drifting in and out of lanes or even running into the back end of a slow or halted vehicle.

Truck drivers must adhere to federal regulations regarding rest and sleep so as to perform their duties safely. If you or a member of your family are ever injured due to the negligent actions of a sleep deprived or fatigued driver, you may wish to take the matter to a personal injury attorney.