Many San Diego area drivers likely experience some level of anxiety and trepidation when driving in close proximity to a large commercial truck. Increasing, however, encounters with big rigs are difficult to avoid as, according to the American Trucking Associations, there are nearly three million large commercial trucks traversing U.S. roads and highways.
The ATA also reports that “nearly 70 percent of all freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks.” There is no doubt that the trucking industry plays a major role in keeping the U.S. economy strong. There is, however, much doubt about the safety of the industry as a whole; especially when it comes to matters related to truck driver fatigue.
Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to deliver goods on time. Stringent deadlines often fail to account for delays related to traffic, inclement weather and road construction. Additionally, such deadlines often also fail to account for the fact that a truck driver is a human being and not a machine and therefore requires sufficient amounts of rest and sleep.
In July of 2013, legislation that aimed to address safety issues related to fatigued driving among commercial truck drivers went into effect. The hours-of-service regulations limit the total number of hours a truck driver may work and drive prior to taking a mandatory 34-hour rest period, including two consecutive nights from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., to 70. Previous regulations allowed a truck driver to work up to 82 hours.
Earlier this month, politicians in some states took action to roll back the recently implemented hours-of-service regulations. If successful, truck drivers across the U.S. would once again be allowed to work up to 82 hours per week, which leaves little time for rest much less sleep.
We’ll provide updates related to these proposed changes when an official Congressional vote occurs.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Congress Budget Deal Suspends Trucker Rest Rule,” Jeff Plungis, Dec. 10, 2014