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The risks of fatigued driving when workers are on the clock

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Fatigued driving is a significant safety concern, particularly for non-traditional workers, such as third shift and swing shift workers. The irregular hours associated with these shifts can disrupt natural sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation and excessive tiredness.

When workers are fatigued, their reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to make decisions are impaired, increasing the risk of accidents on the road. This issue affects the safety and health of drivers and poses a threat to other road users.

Fighting natural sleep patterns

Third-shift workers often face the challenge of driving home after a long night’s work. Similarly, swing shift workers, who rotate between day and night shifts, struggle with constantly changing sleep schedules, making it difficult for their bodies to adjust.

A disruption to the circadian rhythm, or internal clock, can lead to chronic fatigue, making driving hazardous. They must fight against their body’s natural inclination to sleep during the dark hours. Fatigued driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Both lead to similar levels of impairment in coordination, judgment and reaction times.

Employers’ role in addressing fatigued driving

Employers can play a crucial role in mitigating the risks of fatigued driving among their workforce. Implementing policies that encourage or even mandate breaks during shifts can help workers manage fatigue.

Providing education on the dangers of tired driving and strategies for managing sleep schedules can also make a difference. Some companies may offer flexibility in shift scheduling or provide resources for alternative transportation to support employees in managing the demands of non-traditional work hours. When employers fail to fight back against the risks of fatigue, they can potentially be held accountable if one of their workers causes other road users harm.

When crashes happen and harm occurs

If crashes occur as a result of fatigued driving, victims need to seek medical care for their injuries. Then, they can potentially seek compensation from the drowsy driver and/or their employer. This is a time-sensitive matter because of time limits set by California. As such, seeking legal guidance promptly is important for all involved.