Virginia State Police have charged a big rig driver with reckless driving after a crash on I-81 in Rockbridge County, Virginia on June 27.
The truck driver – Jacob D. Amos from Lawsonville, North Carolina – allegedly told responding state troopers that he fell asleep behind the wheel. The tractor trailer crash happened at 4:30 AM near mile marker 175 in the Natural Bridge area. After he fell asleep while driving, his truck overturned, and another vehicle hit his rig from behind on the interstate.
The truck crash injured the driver in the second vehicle. He was transported to a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
It is very important that all tractor trailer drivers understand the importance of being well rested before they drive. They possess a commercial driver’s license and have a legal obligation to drive safely. Driver fatigue leads to truck drivers having slower reaction times and a poor ability to assess situations quickly. Also, the Department of Transportation states that 4,000 people die in truck crashes annually and driver fatigue is a major reason.
Here are some effective ways that tractor trailer drivers can fight driver fatigue:
- Re-examine your sleep schedule: You may not be able to sleep for six or eight hours all the time, but experiment with your sleeping patterns. Try to sleep at different times and for different intervals to see what works best. Also, know that taking short naps – as short as 20 minutes – can restore alertness and enhance driving performance.
- Eat a better diet: Eating junk food may give you a quick sugar rush, but it wears off quickly, and you may find that you are more tired than you were before eating. Eating good, healthy food will provide your body with more energy over a longer period. Opt for protein and complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbs and sugar.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine is a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant. Using both regularly can have effects on the body that lead to driver fatigue.
- Drink water: Being dehydrated is a very common reason for fatigue. You should always be sure that you are well hydrated before starting your shift.
Truck drivers who nod off while driving face not only the possibility of a serious accident and losing their CDL. They also can face personal injury lawsuits. Our Virginia and North Carolina personal injury attorneys settled a truck accident brain injury case for $5.5 million when a Virginia truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel. Be sure that you are well rested before driving, or the consequences can be dire.
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