The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

sleeping driverIn America we rely heavily on the trucking industry. We need long haul truck drivers to move products throughout the country. Apples from Washington are transported to supermarkets in Maine. Electronics shipped to a New Jersey port are delivered to warehouses in Colorado. Everything on the Wal-Mart shelf, or at the local grocery store probably got there by a truck driver delivering it. Even products that are flown in are typically transported to a warehouse, then to the store by a truck driver.

This is an essential job within the US economy and enables consumers to go to stores in every state and purchase products grown or manufactured elsewhere. This is a tough job and requires long hours driving.

All drivers know that being on the road for long periods of time can be tiring. Even people that love to drive have limits to how many hours they want to stay on the road.

External factors like bad traffic and inclement weather can make driving even more challenging. For long haul truck drivers they have the added difficulty of driving a big rig and the navigation challenges that come with it. Driving a truck takes additional focus and effort, much more than driving a compact car.

With the intensity of driving a large truck coast to coast it is easy for drivers to become fatigued. With multiple deadlines to meet they are often motivated to push through the tired feeling and keep going. When they do so, this poses a risk for the driver and for the rest of us on the road. Fatigue can lead to traffic fatalities, and accidents that involve a large truck are more likely to cause serious, if not deadly, injury. In order to keep the roads safe the State Patrol had guidelines in place and weigh stations to keep tired drivers off of the road.

These regulations include:
1. 11 hour drive maximum. Truck drivers can only drive for eleven hours at a time – requiring them to stop and rest.
2. Mandatory breaks. Drivers are required to rest for ten hours before returning to the road.
3. No more than 70 hours driving in an eight day period.
4. 34 hours “off duty” is required prior to resetting the clock on a 70 hour drive week.

These rules are enforced by the State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division. Drivers are required to pull into a facility for an inspection of their truck and to determine how many hours they have been on the road. Drivers that are due for mandatory rest are required to pull over and take a break.

While these rules and regulations work to help keep the roads safe – accidents still happen. It is a trucker’s personal choice to determine whether they are going to listen to their body and rest, or push through and possibly cause an accident. This decision could possibly determine the future of the driver and anyone who might be impacted by a rollover.

The best advice is to know when to stop driving and take a break. The road is your office and the people driving around you are depending on you to stay safe.

Google+Andrew Miller is an experienced Social Media expert and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.

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