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Effects of long-haul trucking on driver fatigue

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Truck Accidents

Driver fatigue is a serious issue in the trucking industry. Long hours and irregular schedules can lead to feelings of tiredness and disorientation. This fatigue can cause accidents, putting both truck drivers and other road users at risk.

Causes of driver fatigue

Truck drivers are especially susceptible to driving fatigue. They often work extended shifts and often have to stay on a tight schedule, which influences the amount of hours they are on the road.

Truck drivers often have to drive at night and sleep during the day. This disrupts their natural sleep cycles, making it difficult to stay alert. The monotony of driving is also a key factor. Drivers often travel long stretches of highway with little variation. This makes it easy for drivers to feel tired and lose focus on the road.

Regulations to combat fatigue

Driver fatigue significantly increases the risk of truck accidents. To address the issue of driver fatigue, specific regulations are in place.

  • Hours of Service (HOS) rules: These federal regulations limit the number of hours a driver can be on duty. Drivers may drive for 11 hours maximum within a 14-hour workday. After reaching this limit, they must take a 10-hour break.
  • Mandatory rest breaks: Drivers must take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving.

Additionally, drivers cannot work more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. They must take a 34-hour rest period to reset their weekly driving limit.

Prevention strategies

Preventing driver fatigue is crucial for safety. Ensuring drivers get enough rest before starting their shifts is vital. A regular sleep schedule helps maintain alertness. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can improve overall health and reduce fatigue. Taking short breaks during long drives can help drivers stay alert.

Enhancing safety and efficiency on the road

To truly combat driver fatigue, the trucking industry must prioritize safety above all. This means providing education on the importance of rest and integrating advanced technologies. When safety becomes a core value, it leads to more responsible driving practices.

Addressing driver fatigue isn’t just about following regulations. By fostering a culture of safety, trucking companies prevent accidents and enhance efficiency. This paves the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for all parties.