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Truckers go to dangerous measures to combat fatigue

Any driver who is drowsy behind the wheel can pose a threat to other motorists. A fatigued driver can have impaired reflexes and decision-making capabilities, and they may doze off and crash into other people or vehicles.

Now put a drowsy driver behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound vehicle and that threat is multiplied considerably. A fatigued commercial vehicle driver can be one of the most dangerous people on the road, considering the damage that can be done if that driver causes an accident. 

State and federal trucking regulations are in place to try and keep fatigued truckers off the road. There are strict Hours of Service regulations with which truckers and trucking companies are expected to comply and limit the number of hours a driver can be on the job and behind the wheel. 

But even if these regulations are observed, there is still a risk that a trucker will get tired after so many hours on the road. In order to try and counteract the symptoms of this fatigue, some truckers turn to some risky solutions.

Many drivers will drink coffee, open the windows or turn up the radio to stay awake. But in many cases, these solutions are not effective enough and truckers turn to more extreme substances. Some will take amphetamines (also referred to in the trucking industry as "bennies" or "pep pills") and other narcotics to mask the fatigue they may be experiencing.

But taking these drugs or narcotics is strictly prohibited, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Any trucker who is in possession of these substances or is under the influence of them while on duty could face penalties for the violation.

Even more seriously, however, is the fact that a trucker impaired by drugs could put the lives of every other motorist on the road in danger. 

If a truck accident has been caused by a reckless or negligent trucker, it can be crucial to investigate whether drugs, alcohol or other impairing substances played a role in the crash. If so, victims of the accident may be eligible to pursue and collect compensation for the often significant damages that have been suffered in a crash.

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