Efforts have been underway for years to limit the presence of fatigued commercial vehicle drivers on highways in Louisiana and around the country. There have been scientific challenges that have undermined the legislative attempts, as no consistent testable standard of fatigue has yet been devised.
The question of what fatigue is and how precisely it affects the human body remains unanswered from a scientific point of view. There is no blood test or other similar physical exam that can reveal exhaustion in any but its most extreme forms. In fact, commercial driver advocacy groups feel that exhaustion should be reported upon only when it is so pronounced that the right to drive the vehicle must be suspended.
Data shows that this scientific confusion is reflected in a general lack of enforcement of these regulations. Citations for fatigue have fallen to less than a third of those issued in 2011.
Driving a commercial vehicle while exhausted can lead to catastrophic injuries to others who are on the road at the time. The sheer size and weight of big rigs places those who in passenger cars in grave danger when a collision occurs. If it can be demonstrated by a personal injury attorney who is representing an injured victim that truck driver fatigue contributed to such a collision, then compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other losses could be awarded to the victim in a successful personal injury lawsuit that names both the sleep-deprived driver as well as the trucking company itself as defendants.
Source: Overdrive Online, "Amid 'fatigued driver' out-of-service discussions, panel releases report on research into fatigue measurement", Todd Dills, March 10, 2016