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Are tired truckers causing serious accidents?

Most people in Utica don’t show up to work exhausted. There may be days here and there where someone will be a bit tired, but as the day progresses, he or she will find the energy to get through the day. Even for those people who are exhausted, their work is such that even if they dozed off on the job, they wouldn’t maim or kill anyone. For truck drivers, however, the story is quite different.

Just look at the news once in a while for the number of serious car accidents in upstate New York and imagine just how much more damage a semitrailer truck could cause if it smashed into a car. Truck accidents can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries, so it is important that truck drivers do whatever they can to be awake, alert and focused while on the road. Even a bit of fatigue could be enough to cause a massive crash.

Fortunately, however, the federal government has changed the safety regulations governing truck drivers. While truckers will still be getting approximately 34 hours off every seven or eight days, the way in which they take that 34-hour break will be quite different. Previously, a driver could pull in a 5 a.m. and spend 34-hours resting, but because he or she would arrive home in the early morning, he or she would really only have one full night of sleep. With these new rules, drivers must have two night periods off, defined as 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The thought is that with at least two nights off, drivers will be able to restart their work cycles more refreshed and less fatigued. So far, there is at least one study that backs up this claim.

Source: The Huffington Post, “New Safety Rules For Truck Drivers Effectively Reduce Fatigue,” Feb. 3, 2014

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