Truck driver fatigue is a very real concern in Illinois, and it can absolutely lead to a truck accident when a driver is too tired to drive properly or to react to situations on the road. Since drivers are paid based on their production -- often on the amount of miles driven -- they have incentive to work for too long, even if it is unsafe, to earn more. Therefore, laws have been put into place to keep this from happening.
The laws differ if drivers are carrying passengers or if they are carrying property. If a driver who is carrying property takes 10 hours in a row off -- the evening after he or she is done driving and then an 8-hour night of sleep, for instance -- he or she is then allowed to drive for 11 hours in a row. Drivers who carry passengers only have to take eight hours off, but they are then only allowed to drive for 10 hours.
Drivers are also required to take rest breaks, which can be taken in the sleeper cabin of the truck. If they are going to drive for more than eight hours, they have to take a 30-minute break. This can be done at any time during the eight hours, so long as they do not go eight hours or more without the break.
It is important to note, however, that taking the 30-minute break does not mean that a driver can go over the maximum driving time.
If you've been injured by a truck driver who broke the laws and was too tired to drive, make sure that you know your rights to compensation.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations" accessed Feb. 20, 2015