When driving down an Illinois freeway, a reader of this blog may have seen this scary sight: a massive truck barreling down the road and weaving from lane to lane as though its driver had lost control of it. Big trucks can be tough to maneuver, but the cause of swerving trucks is often one that is completely preventable. Fatigue affects truck drivers when they do not take enough breaks during their driving days and abide by the hours of service regulations that govern their actions.
Hours of service regulations are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They apply to drivers of large cargo trucks as well as drivers of busses and other passenger-based vehicles. In essence, they determine how many breaks a driver must take during a day, how long those breaks must be, where the driver must go to sleep, and if the driver may return to driving during the same 24 hour period.
For example, the driver of a cargo truck may not drive for more than 11 hours straight after taking 10 hours off of duty. Once they hit the 11 hour mark after having their 10 hour rest break, they must take another break to ensure that they are not too tired to safely operate their rig on the roads.
Drowsy drivers can sit behind the wheels of any type of vehicles, but incentives to drive faster and other problems in the trucking industry have encouraged truck drivers to operate beyond safe means for years. Hours of operation regulations are in place to help deter these dangerous practices and to keep all motorists safe when they are out on American streets and highways.