Many drivers may already be intimidated by the many large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers that they encounter on Bridgeport’s roads; the last thing they want to even consider is that those operating such vehicles might literally be asleep at the wheel. Some might try to argue that the potential threat posed by drowsy drivers is overblown, and statistics may seem to even back up this point. Indeed, research information shared by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that fatigue was listed as the primary cause in only 1.5 percent of fatal truck accidents in 2013. Yet those compiling this same information recognize that there are potentially huge gaps in data collection accuracy in these incidents. Thus, the actual numbers may be quite higher.
So just how big of a problem is truck driver fatigue? The concern is sufficient enough for the federal government to impose strict hours-of-service regulations in order to prevent it. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these are as follows:
- No driving for more than 11 hours after having taken 10 consecutive hours off duty
- No driving beyond the 14th hour after a period of 10 consecutive hours off duty
- No driving for more than eight hours before taking a 30-minute break
- No working beyond 60/70 hours in a 7/8-day work week (which restarts only after a driver takes a minimum of 34 consecutive hours off duty)
Truck drivers are mandated to record their working hours, as well as those mandatory rest periods described above. Such records may help to prove that fatigue may have been a factor in a truck accident by exposing an unwillingness on the part of a driver to conform to federal regulations by either obeying the mandatory hours-of-service schedule or maintaining a record of their activity.