A search on the website for the National Institute of Health yields over a thousand articles on the impact of fatigue on truck drivers. Most of these articles deal with the increased risk of accidents associated with tired drivers behind the wheel. The earliest of these articles date to 1953, a clear indication that the problem with dangerous driving by fatigued truck drivers has been around for a long time.
The Federal Government has attempted to address this issue by requiring truck drivers and trucking companies to limit the Hours of Service a truck driver can provide, and requiring a two day rest period each week. Despite these rules, fatigue remains a contributing factor in at least 30 percent of fatal truck accidents. The reason truck drivers continue to drive even while tired is clear. The amount of money a driver can make is tied to the number of miles he can log, so there is a monetary incentive to going as far as you can as quickly as you can. And drivers who make their deliveries on-time or even early are likely to get additional work over drivers who play it safe and potentially run late with a drop-off.
Some truckers will attempt to use chemical means to stimulate wakefulness. Coffee, energy drinks, and other sources of caffeine are a common, legal method of artificial alertness. When these fail, some truckers turn to amphetamines and other illegal stimulants in an effort to stay awake.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident, there is a reasonable likelihood that fatigue played a factor. It is important to obtain access to driver logs and other information that might indicate how long the driver was on the road before the accident. Please, consult with an experienced attorney about your case.