Truck Driver Fatigue Causing Accidents

There is no doubt that truck drivers have a tough job. But what happens when these drivers get behind the wheel when they are tired or fatigued? Unfortunately, tired driving can often lead to serious and tragic accidents. When a driver knowingly gets behind the wheel before their break is over or after a long day of driving, they are putting others on the road in danger.

Drowsy driving should not be taken lightly at any level, especially when getting behind a roughly 80,000 pound vehicle. These types of accidents can be catastrophic, leaving other drivers involved with serious injuries or causing fatalities. Though driving a truck for extended periods of time can be rigorous and draining, truck drivers have a responsibility to make sure they never get behind the wheel when they are too fatigued.

What are the regulations on driving hours?

A majority of truck driver accidents are caused by some type of error or distraction. These errors can often be attributed to a driver's level of alertness, indicating a lack of sleep or rest. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) recently increased the regulations on driving hours in 2013.

The regulations now include the following restrictions:

  • Drivers are limited to a maximum average workweek of 60 to 70 hours
  • In order to return to work after a 70 hour week, a driver must have at least 34 hours of consecutive rest
  • The nights of rest must be between the hours of 1am and 5am
  • Drivers must take a 30 minute break within the first 8 years of any shift
  • If a driver stays on the road for 11 consecutive hours, they must take a 10 hour break between 2 driving shifts
  • A driver can only clock a maximum of 14 hours on the job, with only 11 of those hours being on the road

Despite these regulations, many drivers are still fatigued when they get on the road. Drivers feel an extreme amount of pressure to meet deadlines, make more money, and fulfill their company's demands. With all of these factors at play, a driver can often find themselves getting back in their truck before they have had the proper amount of rest.

Categories: Truck Accidents