When you drive on highways in the Columbus area, you share the road with multiple semitrucks and commercial vehicles traveling from all over the country. Inside those large cabs are drivers working long hours to meet strict deadlines. If a trucker doesn’t get enough sleep, you could be in danger of a severe accident that puts your life in danger.
Because of the significant risks of drowsy truck drivers, the federal government has restrictions on how long they can drive and when they must stop to rest. However, recent changes in rules will grant flexibility for when drivers can take breaks.
Lifted restrictions could mean more consecutive hours on the road
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently lifted restrictions on when truck drivers must stop to take a break. Previously, truckers could only drive for 11 hours in a 14-hour workday and had to take a 30-minute break sometime within the first consecutive eight hours. And after being on-duty, drivers had to stay off duty for no less than 10 straight hours.
According to the new rules, drivers can take their 30-minute break anytime, meaning they can drive for a straight 11 hours. They can also split up their 10-hour rest period if they have a truck with a sleeper. Safety advocates worry that this flexibility will result in more tired truckers on the road.
A lack of sleep can affect multiple lives
Drowsy drivers are a danger on the road, no matter how large the vehicle. But commercial trucks pose an increased risk due to their size and weight. Smaller vehicles have little chance of withstanding an accident with an out-of-control semitrailer with a sleepy driver at the wheel.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies and truckers may put profits and deadlines ahead of safety. By pushing limits, they increase the risk of anyone on the road.