Truck drivers spend long hours behind the wheel as they transport goods from one location to another. However, constant driving can cause fatigue and drowsiness, both serious concerns when handling a truck on the road. In an effort to improve trucking safety and reduce fatigue-related accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has introduced new rules that ensure truck drivers are allowed enough rest between on-duty shifts.
The New Regulations
Both previous and current safety regulations limit truck drivers to 60 hours of driving over seven consecutive days and 70 hours of driving over eight consecutive days. These time frames are considered a single “duty cycle.” In order to begin a new duty cycle, previous regulations required that a driver take a minimum of 34 hours off duty. The new regulations extend this concept to state that drivers must observe at least two “night periods” from 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to allow for adequate sleep during their restart period. Thus, drivers who end a duty cycle between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 p.m. will need to extend their restart period to ensure it covers two night periods before beginning work again.
Extensive studies were conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prior to the instatement of these new regulations. These studies indicated that truck drivers who were allowed at least two nights of sleep during their break periods were less fatigued when back on the job and behind the wheel. Less fatigue meant drivers could stay more alert and responsive while driving, reducing the risk of accidents. The study monitored incidences of attention lapses and lane drifting, finding that both were reduced after two night periods during each restart cycle.
DSW Drivers is dedicated to providing a healthy and positive environment for our employees. If you would like to learn more about working as a truck driver with us in Tucson, please call 1 (888) 266-7534 or apply online to become part of the DSW trucking team.