Tight deadlines mean more time behind the wheel and less time to rest for many commercial truck drivers. The result is sleep-deprived drivers on the highway. According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sleep deprivation is a factor in almost 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,550 fatalities per year in the U.S.
Even with rules for how long a trucker can drive without rest, some drivers fudge the numbers in their log books to meet a deadline and end up fatigued and at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel.
Sleep deprivation affects a truck driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle, slows responses and increases the probability of errors. Drivers who are on overnight or early morning routes are more susceptible to sleep deprivation because of the disruption to their natural sleep patterns.
Preventing sleep deprivation in truckers is important for the safety of everyone. Learn ways truckers and trucking companies are working to prevent accidents due to driver fatigue:
1. Motor Carrier Training Program
Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for following Hours of Service rules to prevent sleep deprivation. Motor carriers are responsible for training their truck drivers on how to properly use the Hours of Service rules. The training program helps drivers plan for a safe and legal drive, manage time and use other measures to monitor fatigue.
2. Electronic Logs
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a new rule stating all interstate commercial truck and bus companies must use electronic logging devices. Traditional paper logs are easier to manipulate and difficult to monitor. The electronic logs will increase compliance with the Hours of Service rules for drivers and help reduce sleep deprivation.
3. Lane Departure Alarms
Even truckers who follow the Hours of Service rules and are logging their driving hours correctly can become fatigued. Many trucking companies are installing lane departure alarms in trucks to alert drivers when the vehicle is veering off the road. The lane departure technology uses cameras and sensors to monitor where the vehicle is on the road. It mutes the radio and sounds a loud alarm that continues until the vehicle returns to the lane.
If you are interested in learning more about how we help prevent sleep deprivation in our truck drivers, contact us.