A drowsy trucker is a dangerous trucker. There are reasons that semi drivers have to log certain amounts of time off of the road. They’re supposed to be sleeping. Nodding off behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound truck puts everyone in danger.
Unfortunately, even when truckers follow these rules, it is often difficult for them to get enough sleep to really be going at 100 percent.
Lying on logs
One problem is that some drivers will falsify their log books. Essentially, they’ll make sure the log books say they took enough time off, at the right times, but they’ll really spend some of that time working. They have deadlines. They have jobs to get done. They may feel pressure from the company to drive even when they’re tired. Forcing drivers to keep logs has helped, but as long as people are willing to lie, problems will persist.
Not sleeping during a break
A trucker may stop driving and take 10 hours off on break, but is that truck driver passed out comfortably in the sleeper cab? Maybe, but maybe not. Perhaps he or she put in as many miles as possible on the clock — the driver does get paid by the mile, after all — and stopped at the last possible second. Now the driver needs to fill up with gas, find somewhere to eat, find a place to shower and use the restroom, spend time on the phone or the computer, and much else. Ten hours on break could turn into just five or six hours of sleep.
Searching for overnight parking takes time
Another issues truck drivers face is that many of them all want to sleep at the same time. Some claim they have spent hours looking for a spot when the lots get full. This really throws off the driver’s schedule. Will he or she then be tempted to get up too early to get back on the road, trying to make up time?
Finally, since drivers have to work around shipping schedules, often waiting for crews to load up their trucks, they do not always have a predictable eight or 10 hours off to sleep. One driver said he had days with a comfortable 14 hours to sleep and other days with just four hours. A driver with too much time realistically can’t use it all to sleep, and that alarm wakes him or her up too early on the other days. Chaotic scheduling means tired drivers hit the interstates.
Truck accidents often lead to very serious injuries and even fatalities. It is important for those involved to know all of their rights.