When a truck driver gets tired the driver should stop driving. Driver fatigue is a major factor in tractor-trailer accidents. The U.S. Department of Transportation Safety limits the number of hours a driver may be at the wheel. These regulations are different for drivers carrying a load from drivers transporting passengers. The government makes these rules for our safety. The rules govern the maximum number of consecutive hours a driver may drive as well as the maximum consecutive hours a driver may be on duty. The DOT regulations also outline the requirements for record keeping in the driver’s log where he records his duty status for every 24 hour period.
A driver’s working conditions can be a factor contributing to driver fatigue. Drivers who are paid by the mile or by the load have a financial incentive to drive without sufficient periods of rest. The faster they complete load and the more miles they cover result in higher pay outs for the driver. Often the trucking company will encourage drivers to work longer hours to benefit the company’s bottom line. This sets the company up for punitive damages.
Over this holiday season it is especially important to keep a lookout for truckers who are fatigued. It is better to stay way back if you see a trucker swerving rather than trying to pass the truck. A few minutes later arrival could save your life.