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Government and safety organizations at odds over trucker fatigue

There are many people in Syracuse who will work while tired. For most jobs, this isn’t a problem, but for some jobs, being tired can cause some very serious complications. No one wants, for example, a tired surgeon. One career that is particularly susceptible to fatigue is truck driving. It is also one position in which being tired is very dangerous.

Congress and the federal government recognize this and there are a number of rules in place to limit trucker fatigue. Just last year, the government mandated that truckers must take 34 hours off before starting a 70-hour work week. Moreover, the rules require the drivers to have two nights or rest each week. While studies have shown that this time off does a better job of reducing fatigue and increasing alertness, there are trucking companies and truckers who are fighting the regulations.

While it makes sense that truckers would want their flexibility when it comes to when they can work, they are not the only ones on the road. When they drive while tired, they are not just putting their lives at risk, but everyone’s on the road. They can cause extremely serious trucking accidents, severe injuries and death.

Unfortunately, some lawmakers are taking the sides of trucking companies. One senator has gotten an amendment through the Senate Appropriations Committee that would roll back the limits on the number of hours a trucker could work. Though the amendment has not taken effect, if it does, it could mean many more tired truckers on the road.

Source: The New York Times, “Truckers Resist Rules on Sleep, Despite Risks of Drowsy Driving,” Jad Mouawad and Elizabeth A. Harris, June 16, 2014

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