To be a long-haul truck driver is to be at the wheel, and alert, for most of the time you’re awake. These long hours, combined with the pressure to drive farther and deliver quotas on time, leads to a lot of stress for truck drivers and could even be a contributing factor in crashes caused by fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel. But where is all this stress coming from and what’s the longest a truck driver can go without rest?
Hours of Service
Under “Hours of Service” regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a long-haul truck driver can operate their vehicle for up to 10 hours before they are required to stop driving for 11 hours. In a 24-hour cycle, a long-haul driver may work for up to 14 hours.
However, there is a limit to these long hours. This is called the 60/70 rule, which states that truck drivers cannot operate their vehicle for more than 60/70 hours in a 7 or 8 day period, respectively.
Stress and Crashes
This system is supposed to prevent truck drivers from getting burnt out while on the road as it gives them an average of 8.5 hours on the road per day. However, trucker shortages and pressure from management are leading to some Hours of Service violations, as well as truck driver fatigue.
Not only are truck crashes increasing, but more drivers are citing work-related stress as a major contributing factor. In some cases, this is leading more drivers to turn to amphetamines and other stimulants so they can stay awake at the wheel. However, this is only a short-term solution and may signal that it’s time to revise the Hours of Service guidelines.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a truck crash, we can help. To schedule an appointment with an experienced truck accident attorney from Dunk Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (800) 674-9339 or send us an email.