Right now there are federal rules in place that limit the amount of hours truck drivers can spend on the road, but new efforts by the trucking industry and its supporters are trying to hamper those efforts. If they succeed then laws requiring truck drivers to get rest before they can work long shifts will be frozen, which could allow companies to work their truckers for even longer. So, why are some drivers siding with the trucking industry on rules that could see them working longer and more taxing hours?
Fatigue has been a long ignored safety issue when it comes to driving any vehicle, but experts insist that fatigue is no minor issue when it comes to traffic safety. Studies have shown that staying awake for 24 hours can affect your driving worse than having a blood alcohol level of .10, yet still some truck drivers are choosing to ignore this problem.
Independent drivers are paid by the mile rather than by salary or hourly wage, so any provision that limits the amount of time they can be on the road also limits how much money they can make in a week. Factoring in independent drivers is critical in figuring out why more truckers aren’t helping to protect federal regulations aimed at protecting them, but it isn’t the only explanation.
Statistics tell us that a top factor in most of the truck-related accidents in this country is trucker fatigue, and yet experts still believe that these drivers are underreporting accidents caused by fatigue. Some blame this on possible liability issues while some experts believe that truckers may not even be aware that they are fatigued and underperforming at their jobs. This can make statistics look lower than the actual incidence of crashes, which could mean that fatigued driving is an even bigger problem than most truckers realize.
Most truck drivers work within the guidelines of the federal government, and some states have even stricter rest rules for truckers, but a few outliers are pushing the edge of safety for both themselves and normal drivers. The driving public needs these truckers to realize that a few extra hours on the road are not worth the lives they could cost. Help protect the driving public, and spread the word about fighting trucker fatigue.
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