The Importance of not Over-Working Your Truck Drivers
- Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:01
It is crucial not to give your truck drivers too much work, as truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States. In fact, the Department of Transportation has noted that around 4,000 of the 30,000 fatal crashes that happen every year involve semi trucks, and fatigue plays a role in many of these accidents. Often, victims are in other vehicles, but truck drivers have also been killed in these accidents.
After analysis of the facts showed how much of a problem this was, the Department of Transportation introduced a new measure that set up the standard hours of service. This happened in 2011. While the full ruling is complicated, it can be broken down into two basic rules that drivers must follow. First, within the first eight hours after a driver starts his or her shift, the driver must stop and rest for at least 30 minutes. Sleep is not mandatory, but drivers are not to work during this time period – meaning that stopping to unload a truck cannot count as a rest break.
The second rule is that drivers cannot work over 70 hours a week; if they hit this mark, they have to take more than 30 hours off, resting and “resetting” the clock for the next week. Under the old rules, drivers could have worked for 82 hours before they had to perform the reset.
As shown by the DOT, driver fatigue is something that must not be overlooked, and it’s important to know the ins and outs of this law. For example, time that drivers spend behind the wheel is the main focus, but what about time at the loading dock, assisting with other tasks? Additionally, you must know how log books are to be filled out and what changes new technology — such as a GPS tracking system — can play in making sure that drivers are following the regulations.
The roads are a dangerous place and trucks drivers must know their rights. If you are a driver and you’re asked to work more hours than the regulations allow, it could put you at a higher risk for an accident. If you run the trucking company and you overwork your drivers, it could mean that you are liable if one of them is involved in an accident. Be sure to examine the most recent changes to the law to understand current regulations and contact
an experienced attorney to help you.