Fatigue is a major cause of auto accidents on Alaska roadways. For truck drivers operating large vehicles with blind spots, fatigue can be a major problem. The reasons for truck driver fatigue can include alcohol use, illness, and driving too long.
Truck driver regulations
The U.S. government introduced regulations to limit the problem of driver fatigue. Truck drivers are limited to driving 11 consecutive hours and spending 10 hours not driving. Motor vehicle accidents involving trucks still occur because of fatigue among drivers following the rules, however.
The reasons behind truck driver fatigue
One of the problems facing truck drivers is the pressure to arrive at their destination on time. Employers have been known to pressure employees to push themselves beyond the 11-hour limit to make tight deadlines. Truck drivers often feel a sense of pride in arriving on time to make a delivery and push themselves beyond reasonable limits.
Common fatigue issues
Illness on the road causes fatigue issues for truck drivers. A common cold or the flu can leave truck drivers feeling tired as they move around the country. Alcohol use has been an ongoing issue within the trucking industry worldwide, with 50% of global truck drivers admitting to using alcohol. Studies have revealed that U.S. truck drivers have a higher level of alcohol use.
To get a delivery to its destination on time, truck drivers are willing to drive at unusual hours taking them outside their regular sleeping patterns. There is less traffic on the road during the late-night and early morning hours, but upsetting the body’s circadian rhythms can cause fatigue.
Understanding the problems facing the trucking industry may be able to help regulating bodies draft protocols that create safer roadways for everyone.