Any driver knows that long road trips can be exhausting. But truck drivers are subject to long hauls on a daily basis. While companies and consumers alike depend on them to transfer and deliver goods, these long trips can take mental and physical tolls on a truck driver.
A truck driver might drive fatigued for many reasons. But whether their employer pressures them to complete a job on time, or they’re simply tempted to reach the end of their journey, driving while fatigued can have deadly results.
Consequences of driving while fatigued
Fatigue impairs a driver’s ability to properly operate their vehicle. Without taking breaks, it can be easier to lose focus and grow weary. Driving while fatigued can cause a truck driver to:
- Veer into an adjacent travel lane
- Lose control of their vehicle, especially in bad weather conditions
- Collide with the rear end of someone else’s vehicle
Fatigued truck drivers may not be as reactive to their surroundings. Thus, a truck driver’s decision to drive fatigued can result in serious — and even fatal — wrecks.
A limit on hours of service
Due to a large number of wrecks caused by fatigued truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued rules that determine how long truck drivers can drive in one journey without taking breaks.
Following FMCSA’s guidelines, Georgia’s Department of Public Safety states that a truck driver must take a 10-hour rest break between driving. After 10 hours off duty, a driver may resume their hours of service for a 14-hour period. However, only 11 hours of that 14-hour window can be devoted to driving.
The remaining three hours must be used for break times. A truck driver cannot go more than eight consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break.
Drivers must also keep a logbook of their rest and driving periods. These logbooks can be used as references to prove that a driver failed to follow FMCSA’s guidelines in the event of a wreck.