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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that about 15 percent of all truck accidents are due to driver fatigue. Despite federal rules (recently tightened) requiring 10 consecutive hours of rest in each driver's day, industry pressures frequently keep drivers going beyond their legal limits. The rest rule kicks in after 11 hours of driving or a 14-hour workday (including fueling, loading/unloading, and food stops).
You can avoid contributing to the problem. When hiring a truck driver for a move or shipment, be sure to allow enough time for the driver to sleep. When driving your own goods, insist on taking sufficient time to rest. Fatigue can cause a driver to black out, hallucinate, or simply nod off to sleep behind the wheel -- all potentially deadly situations. The only cure is sleep. Stimulants, including caffeine, may have no effect on the seriously fatigued and may simply make a tired driver more jittery.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|