Is There a Link Between Inadequate Rest and Truck Accidents?

Commercial truck drivers must often log many hours as they try to quickly transport goods across the country. Due to this, many truck drivers are fatigued when they drive. Sometimes, this fatigue may result in accidents that result in serious injury and fatalities. There may be a link between inadequate rest and truck accidents.

Causes of Truck Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration state that the number one reason for commercial truck accidents is fatigued drivers. These agencies released a study in which they examined more than 12,000 commercial truck collisions over a three-year period. During this time, 249 people died and another 1,654 people were injured. The most common reported reason for these crashes was driver error, which encapsulated driver fatigue.

Factors that Contribute to Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue may be caused by a number of factors inherent in the trucking industry, such as:

  • Pay by the load incentivizes drivers to drive more miles before taking a break
  • Unrealistic schedules in which the trucking company promises the goods in a timeframe outside the maximum work hours’ laws
  • Expectations from trucking companies for truck drivers to drive quickly despite safety risks

These factors may combine with others such as driver inexperience, poor weather conditions or poor road conditions to increase the likelihood of serious accidents.

Hour and Break Requirements

The FMCSA has implemented rules regarding the maximum number of hours truck drivers can work and when they are required to take breaks. These laws limit a truck driver to work 11 hours in one day. This must then be followed by ten hours off duty.

Influence of Sleep Deprivation on Truck Drivers

Truck drivers who are sleep deprived or otherwise fatigued may suffer from a number of negative effects, including:

  • Slower response times – When someone is tired, they take longer to react. Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, it already takes longer for a truck to come to a complete stop after applying the brakes.
  • Impaired judgment – When individuals are fatigued, their judgment may become impaired. They may make unreasonable decisions that lead to accidents down the road. Poor judgment often results in the truck driver making riskier decisions.
  • Impaired attention span – Fatigue can impact a person’s attention span. This can result in a truck driver not paying attention to the road in front of him or her.

Contact an Arizona Personal Injury Attorney

If you were or a family member was hurt in a truck accident, contact a personal injury attorney. Udall Shumway has represented accident victims since 1965 and can review your claim to determine if you may have grounds for a lawsuit against a negligent truck driver.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding Inadequate Rest and Truck Accidents, or other personal injury matters, call Mesa AZ Personal Injury Attorney Clark R. Richter at 480-461-5321 or contact him at for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.