Truck Drivers Working Overtime and Fatigue

Truck Drivers Working Overtime and Fatigue

Overtime driving is a huge problem in the truck driving industry.  Companies implicitly encourage and sometimes even require drivers to drive over the allotted miles per day or hours per day to meet or beat delivery deadlines.  Logging long hours of driving without proper rest causes driver fatigue which makes them more likely to crash.

Impacts of Fatigued Driving:

  • Reaction time is delayed.  The drowsier the driver, the slower the reaction time.
  • Fatigued driving can be similar to driving under the influence of alcohol.  Going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% (the legal limit in the U.S.).
  • Drivers are three times more likely to crash when they are fatigued.

A truck driver may not even know when they are fatigued because the signs are hard to identify.  If they are drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks they might feel alert and not tired.  Closing your eyes for just a few seconds at a time is supremely dangerous.  A truck can travel the distance of a football field in only 4 or 5 seconds.

To protect the public, truck drivers are required to comply to Hours of Service (HOS) set up by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCAS).  These regulations were put in place to ensure that truck drivers stay awake and alert while driving.

Examples of HOS rules:

10 Hour Maximum – Commercial truck drivers cannot drive more than 10 consecutive hours following eight hours off duty, or 14 hours following 10 straight hours off duty.

Required Days Off – Drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in any seven consecutive days or more than 70 hours in any eight consecutive days if the driver operates continuously.

30 Minutes Break Requirement – Truck drivers are required to take at least a 30 consecutive minute break for every 8 hours of driving time (not on-duty time) and allows for an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.

Fatigued Driving Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 100,000 police-reported crashes involve fatigued driving every year.  Due to those crashes, more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries occur.  In addition to the human toll, it is estimated that fatal fatigued driving crashes cost $109 billion annually, not including property damage.

Holding Truck Drivers Accountable

Adam Miller, The Texas Bulldog, fights negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and insurance companies on behalf of injured victims.   Our law firm will always stand up for our clients and their families and help them get every penny they deserve after an accident.  Truck drivers have serious regulations because they can cause serious and catastrophic injuries and death.  If you or someone you love has been injured by an 18 wheeler contact us now for a free consultation.  The Miller Law Firm will never charge you anything unless they win your case.  Call us now at 713-572-3333.