Most truck drivers are hardworking and honest employees who are just trying to make a day’s wages. They know that they have to obey service time regulations so that the drivers get the necessary rest they need to continue driving safely. Their employers, however, are not always on their side. Trucking company owners and operators can push their drivers to the breaking point by threatening to fire them if they do not arrive at a particular destination ahead of schedule. Some trucking companies, usually companies who are run by unethical operators, force their drivers to violate the law and endanger every motorist on the road.
Driver fatigue is a serious — and potentially deadly — problem in the United States. Estimates generated by governmental agencies indicate that driver fatigue is responsible for approximately 100,000 vehicle accidents each year that cause about 6,000 deaths. Fatigue has a similar effect to ethyl alcohol on the operator of a motor vehicle. Fatigue can cause a motor vehicle operator to have longer response times, experience shortened attention spans, experience impaired concentration, and impaired judgment, have difficulty maintaining constant speeds, and create difficulty judging distances. Studies have shown that driving for approximately 20 hours causes the same disruptions and driving as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is known as the legal limit in every state in the country. Moreover, driving while suffering from fatigue increases one’s chances of having an accident triple.
Federal regulations restrict the amount of time a truck driver can be on duty. The hours of service regulations limit truck drivers to eleven hours of driving during a fourteen-hour time span. Drivers must rest for ten hours before driving again. The rules are plain and simple and should be followed by everyone. Notwithstanding, some trucking companies force their drivers to stay in the cab for longer and incur fines to ensure that the cargo reaches its destination on time or even ahead of schedule. Trucking companies push their drivers so that they can increase their business at the expense of the safety of the truck drivers and all others on the road.
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