Trucking is a difficult job that often requires long hours and days spent away from family. There is frequently pressure to make deliveries as fast as possible so it is not unusual for drivers to take few rest breaks, if any. All too often, the result is a sleep-deprived person operating a huge 18 wheeler around other North Carolina motorists. This situation often leads to deadly truck accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates the trucking industry. The agency hopes that new rules that take effect on July 1 will reduce the number of drivers dozing off behind the wheel by limiting their hours and requiring longer rest times.
Under the new rules, the maximum number of hours a semi truck driver can be on the road will go from 82 hours per seven-day period to 70. Once a driver hits that 70-hour limit, he or she must rest for at least 34 hours to “restart” their week. Also, drivers will be expected to take a 30 minute break every eight hours. These regulations are meant to give drivers the chance to sleep and regain their energy so that the chances of a truck accident will hopefully go down.
Readers might think that the trucking industry might oppose these tightened regulations. But at least one North Carolina trucking company owner acknowledged that drivers have their limits and that fatigue has led to several dangerous collisions. He said that safety was a top priority for his company and he promised to follow the rules.
Source: WGHP-TV, “New truck driving regulations to take effect,” Carter Coyle, June 24, 2013