When people work from home, or even at an office, they can shut their eyes when they are feeling tired; however, truck drivers do not have this same luxury. When a trucker closes his eyes at work, even for a little bit, he can cause a serious South Florida truck accident due to the sheer size and weight of the rig he is steering.
Drowsy driving is one of the largest contributors to truck accidents in Florida and throughout the nation. So, why don’t truck drivers pull off the roadway when they are sleepy and take a nap? Sadly, truckers are typically motivated by large profits for getting their job done ahead of time or can get in trouble if they miss their deadlines. In addition, they are under stress to meet schedules so that other companies can operate efficiently. This motivation or fear keeps them driving mile after mile, even if they are feeling drowsy.
Drowsy Driving – A Serious Safety Issue for Truckers and Innocent Florida Motorists
Trucker fatigue is a growing concern, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which implements trucking regulations, is proposing a reduced driving time for interstate truckers, especially after one specific fatal Florida truck crash.
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This deadly crash resulted when a truck driver steered his tractor-trailer into another semi truck, killing the innocent driver and father of two. After an investigation into the collision, it was determined that the truck driver at fault had been driving for 19 consecutive hours prior to the wreck.
Because trucker-fatigue contributed to this fatal truck crash, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing new driving rules that include:
- Reducing the allowable driving time
- Interstate truckers would be reduced from 11 hours to 10 hours of driving time in each 14-hour shift
- Truckers would be required to take a one-hour break during marathon shifts
- Truck drivers would be obligated to take more time off duty between seven-day work shifts
The new laws will be decided upon on October 28, 2011. However, the American Trucking Association, which represents the trucking industry, is arguing that fatal crashes are down and the industry doesn’t need tougher driving laws. The organization is indicating that stricter laws will increase costs for trucking companies, which is not good in a difficult economic situation.
Although the two sides have different opinions about the new proposed laws, one thing is for certain – drowsy truckers are a real danger to themselves and to other innocent motorists on the roadways.