Truck driving is one of the few professions where “sleeping on the job” is mandatory. All kidding aside, sleep is a critical element of the transportation industry’s focus and truck driver sleep requirements are top of mind more now than ever before.
Statistics show that every year over 110,000 people are injured and more than 5,000 killed in the United States resulting from accidents with commercial trucks. Public and regulatory interest has been on the rise, and much focus has been placed on the effects of fatigue, sleep deprivation, sleep disruption and sleep disorders as they relate to workers in the transportation industry. In fact, driver fatigue is widely considered to be one of the top problems facing the commercial transportation industry.
Don’t Miss This Guide to Truck Driver Sleep Requirements
- Understand the regulations – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) puts out the regulations of how many hours of sleep must be logged and in what increments. It is important to know and follow these rules as well as stay abreast of any changes.
- Don’t get creative with the log books – It’s tempting for a driver who wants to optimize his/her hours to log sleep time while unloading or taking a non-sleeping break in order to get back on the road sooner. This activity, however, can cause sleep deprivation and even cause an accident. Don’t cut corners, be sure to get your rest.
- Avoid overuse of caffeine – No one would ever suggest giving up your cup of morning Joe, but overuse of caffeine can create crashes and have lasting health effects. A well-rested driver will stay alert without the use of intense energy drinks or stimulants.
How you can support your drivers:
Create awareness with your team – Sleep issues, for obvious reasons, are a common issue for truck drivers. Trucking companies can help their team of drivers avoid issues by creating awareness. Keep your drivers educated regarding truck driver safety requirements, inform them of the negative effects of lack of sleep and brainstorm ways to continually support them in this area.
Incentivize and reward good behaviors – By incentivizing and rewarding diligent adherence to truck driver safety requirements, you can create a culture that places importance on this crucial issue, which reducing your business’s liability and creating a happier, healthier workforce.
Sleep is essential to good health. The days when truck driver safety requirements were lax, and employees were expected to work day and night with no sleep are gone – for good reason. Supporting a company-wide initiative to raise awareness and support good sleeping habits on the job can be a benefit to your organization in the long run.
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