Federal rules aim to cut down on truck driver fatigue

2019-12-05T19:46:50+00:00October 30th, 2014|

Drivers who are not devoting their full attention to the road are a risk to themselves and to everyone else utilizing the highway system. Anyone in the Ocala area who has ever driven a vehicle knows that it is easy to lose focus while behind the wheel. Distractions are plentiful, and come in many different forms. Whether the distraction is an amusing roadside advertisement or a cellular phone conversation, it could cause serious consequences.

The stakes are even higher when it comes to distracted truck drivers. This is because their tremendous size and weight makes accidents involving semi-trucks especially dangerous. Therefore, it is imperative for truck drivers to be well-trained and to always be attentive while on the road.

For commercial drivers that travel long distances on a daily basis, staying awake behind the wheel can be a unique challenge. Truck driver fatigue is a far more serious problem than just occasional drowsiness.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver fatigue is a leading factor in the roughly 4,000 fatal commercial truck accidents that occur each year. Accordingly, the federal government has imposed new rules that limit the number of hours that truck drivers can be on the road. These rules took effect over a year ago, following years of research and more than 20,000 formal public comments.

Under the new requirements, truck drivers must have at least 34 consecutive hours of downtime every seven days if the driver works 60 or more hours during that same period. The FMCSA based those time parameters on scientific research about the link between long work hours and crashes.

The Hours-of-Service Rules have been unpopular amongst some people in the trucking industry. But, the goal of the rules was not to inhibit the economics of the industry. Rather, the rules are designed to promote safety and prevent fatal commercial truck accidents resulting from driver fatigue.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Debunking the Myths on Hours-of-Service,” Accessed on Oct. 21, 2014