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DOT addresses truck driver fatigue to reduce truck crashes

Not getting enough sleep is a common problem for many people in Philadelphia. Distractions of every sort, including electronics such as smartphones and tablets, social media sites and everyday stress keeps many people from getting a full night of sleep, and more and more individuals suffer fatigue because of it. Truck drivers are no different. Unfortunately, with a truck driver fatigue can be a more dangerous problem because it increases the risk of a truck accident.

To address this problem and perhaps keep it from becoming worse, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been paying more attention to truck driver fatigue. The DOT's main priority is to keep public roads as safe as possible. This includes minimizing the risks of truck drivers who do not have enough rest but are operating large commercial vehicles. More than 30,000 people die each year in traffic accidents, and too many of these involve large trucks. DOT and other agencies estimate that almost 4,000 people die in large truck accidents every year, with driver fatigue being the leading factor.

To help reduce these numbers and improve highway safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in December 2011 announced a new rule to regulate the number of hours truck drivers would be allowed to operate both consecutively and over certain multiple-day periods. As a result, the FMCSA implemented changes in the hours of service of truckers, including setting a 30-minute rest break and modifying the restart rest period. These new hours-of-service rules were intended to ensure that truck drivers did not drive while fatigued.

The goal of the new hours of service rule was to help the majority of truck drivers who perform conscientiously by enforcing rest periods. Despite the laws, some truck operators will still push the limits and put other people's lives at risk.

Source: United States Department of Transportation, "Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue," Accessed on Feb. 4, 2015

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