Truck drivers hold a career unlike any other. They transport our country’s goods from point A to B, move America forward, and ultimately keep our economy afloat. We couldn’t do it without them! With this unique career come the difficulties of long hours behind the wheel.
Drivers spend a lot of the time on the road and are under certain deadlines to reach their destination. While it’s important to meet deadlines, it’s crucial to meet rest requirements. Without the proper amount of sleep, drivers put themselves and their health at risk, not to mention others on the road.
Most obviously, lack of sleep can result in falling asleep at the wheel, which can lead to fatal accidents involving the driver and other vehicles. Not only are tired drivers at risk for dozing off, but fatigued driving is drowsy driving. When a person’s mind and body haven’t obtained the rest they require, it delays reaction times—a dangerous threat.
Not getting enough sleep also has long-term consequences. The longer someone puts off shut-eye, the more likely they are to develop a number of health conditions and diseases. These include diabetes, increased blood pressure, depression, and even life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and strokes. This is another relevant reason why it’s important to rest up.
Sleep disorders are another critical issue facing the trucking industry. Sleep apnea, a common disorder in which a person has pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while asleep, is a widespread problem among truck drivers. In fact, many people aren’t aware if they even have the disorder.
In order to reduce sleep apnea-related accidents, Prime promotes sleep apnea awareness and testing among our drivers and those enrolled in the company’s student training program. Prime has its very own sleep lab where drivers and enrollees can undergo testing.
Beyond that, truck drivers must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service regulations. In 2013, the rule was put into place to ensure truck drivers meet rest requirements. It contains an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour workday limit. Here’s a quick look:
- Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours;
- Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most – from 1-5 a.m., and;
- Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
These are all excellent reasons why truck drivers need their sleep! It’s safer. It’s smarter. It’s healthier. It’s required. Safety is #1 at Prime, Inc. and that’s why we strive to do our part and spread safety and health awareness among truck drivers and those sharing the road.