No where does the highway safety run more clearly afoul of short term profits than in the area of driver fatigue. It is easy to see how greed can induce truckers to drive longer hours, with shorter breaks, to increase their income. Yet fatigue not only involves the horrific prospect of a trucker falling asleep while behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound vehicle, but it is also slows reaction time, effects judgment and even effects vision. The tired driver is not a safe driver. Profits are not the only incentive, as truckers may push themselves beyond safe limits, for motivations as simple as getting home for the weekend or avoiding day time traffic problems.
Regulatory Scheme. It is with the understanding that the individual driver cannot be trusted to use his or her own judgment to know when to quit, that both federal and state regulations impose maximum hours that can be driven, between mandatory rest periods.
- Maximum Hours: The first requirement is to regulate the maximum amount of hours that can legally be driven.
- Driver Logs: The second is to require detailed logs of what hours are driven.
- Auditing of Logs: The third is to implement an auditing plan to assure that logs are kept accurately.
Hours of Driving. (Subject to numerous exceptions)
Daily requirement: No driver can drive a motor vehicle for more than 11 cumulative hours, following 10 consecutive hours “off duty.” or
For any period after the 14th hour after coming on duty.
7 day requirement. No driver can drive, if they have been on duty 60 hours in 7 consecutive days;
8 day requirement. No driver can drive, if they have been on duty 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.
Weekly Rest Period. In order to start a new 7/8 day period, the driver has to be off for at least 34 or more consecutive hours.
- Driving time means all time spent at the driving controls of a commercial motor vehicle in operation.
- On duty time means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work.
NEXT: Sleep-Related Crash Prompts Fed Call For Research
For more information go to Atty. Gordon Johnson