OMAHA, Nebraska. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s rules and regulations, truck drivers are required to limit their driving to 11 hours of service. The law limits how long truck drivers can be behind the wheel for a given stretch of time. The law is in place because driving while fatigued is considered dangerous. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration notes that long hours are associated with increased risk of accidents and increased risk of health complications for drivers.
We all know we shouldn’t drive while we are tired. Researchers have found that driving while fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol. Yet, why do we need to sleep? Researchers are investigating the role that sleep plays in our bodies. The Atlantic reports that sleep seems to go against evolutionary imperatives. Sleeping makes animals and humans vulnerable to predators. Yet, most animals sleep. Why?
From jellyfish to pigeons—animals need sleep. Jellyfish who were kept awake needed to rest for longer periods. When we force ourselves to stay awake, we need to rest more. Some researchers believe that we need to sleep because our brain uses the time to clean up dead-end neuronal connections. We do know that a chemical called “adenosine” builds up in the brain when we have been awake for a period of time.
Research into mutations also found that some mice can be sleepy all the time, while others can fall asleep suddenly, a condition very similar to narcolepsy.
While we don’t know exactly why we need to sleep—the reality of our sleep need is urgent. Don’t get enough sleep, and you won’t be able to concentrate as well or drive as well as when you are well-rested. Is a cup of coffee enough to help you soldier through? Well, researchers have found that coffee contains a chemical that prevents adenosine from binding to cells in the brain. When adenosine binds to the cells, we feel sleepy. Coffee might make us feel less sleepy; however, it isn’t clear whether coffee actually restores the cognitive functioning we lose by being awake for too long. Many believe that only REM sleep can do that. So, while coffee might make you feel less sleepy, it won’t necessarily make you a better driver. Your best bet is to have a cup and find a place to rest.
Sleep deprivation can lead to crashes. However, it can be challenging to prove that a driver was sleep deprived before an accident. Rensch & Rensch Law are truck accident lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska who are trying to find creative solutions to this problem. For example, our attorneys can review a truck driver’s logs to determine whether he or she slept recently before an accident. Thanks to modern log requirements, more personal injury lawyers are able to determine whether fatigue was a factor in a truck accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash, you may want to speak to our attorneys today to learn more about the factors that may have played a role in your accident. If the truck driver was negligent, you and your family may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries or losses. Visit us at https://www.renschandrensch.com/ to learn more.