According to a new study, the new safety regulations for truck drivers are proving to be effective in preventing fatigue and drowsy driving. Drivers are required increase their break time for sleep in between shifts.
Regulation states that one duty or “cycle” is considered driving 60-70 hours in the last 7-8 days, afterwards truck drivers must be off-duty for at least 34 hours before getting back on the road. The new changes require that drivers must be off-duty for at least 2 night periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. before restarting their work cycle. This makes drivers who finish a cycle between 11 p.m. and 7 p.m. increase their 34-hour break time by 1-2 hours be in line with the new rule.
Researchers from at the Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center conducted the study specifically for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
It involved 106 truck drivers, who submitted data between a 6 month period after completing 2 work cycles. Their results showed that truckers who rested for at least 2 night periods after finishing a cycle experienced less fatigue, had fewer attention problems, and better lane positioning while driving, compared to drivers who rested only 1 night during a break.
The additional sleep time for truck drivers is certainly overdue, and very good news! Drowsy driving is dangerous not only for the driver, but everyone else on the road. If you are tired, please avoid getting behind the wheel. Pull over, drink coffee, or take a power nap if you find yourself tired during a driving trip.