Driving Drowsy – Does it Happen

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As many of you know I am an avid twitter user I tweet trucker related news, as well as weather, and travel delays too. Yesterday, I posted a link to a story about an overturned semi in South Carolina, it happened at 04:30 AM. I received an @ reply message saying they hoped the driver was OK, and that they hoped the driver was not driving drowsy.

Here is something for the readers of this blog that are not truck drivers to think about. The next time you get in your car in the early morning hours, after you have had a good nights sleep in your own house and in your own bed. You back out of your drive-way and go down the road towards your eight hour job. When you pull out onto a busy road, interstate, etc. and you see one of the many tractor trailers driving on the same road. Stop and think for a second that driver might have been driving all night and is tired.

The simple way to look at this, without getting too technical is that truck drivers are allowed to drive for eleven hours. The law does not say that is driving during the daylight only. It is eleven hours whether it is of the night or during the day. So think about this, when you sit down to supper with your family a truck driver is just starting his or her eleven hour shift. When you get ready to go to bed in your house to sleep, a truck driver has been driving and is still driving. When you get up and get ready to go to work and you are driving, that same driver may still be driving.

Trucking does not have a schedule, it happens at any time or anywhere. Truck drivers are always tired, just for the simple fact they do not get to go to bed at the same time every day or night. Sometimes they may only get a short nap, and must get right back up and hit the road. Of course they are driving drowsy, this is something that will never change. No matter what laws are put in place.

I keep seeing people say truckers need their “proper rest.” There is nothing proper in trucking. There are parking issues, so drivers have to keep rolling. There are shipping schedules that mess with truckers all the time, traffic delays happen all the time. These are factors that lead up to drowsy driving, truckers no matter how hard they push something will always happen to delay them. Which puts them behind, causing them to have to push that much harder.

I learned years ago that in trucking you as a driver cannot plan anything. Something can and will happen to your plan every time. People who have never been in or around the trucking industry need to realize this. So to all you people out there that have the eight to five jobs, who go home every night and sleep in your own bed at the same time every night. I want you to think about that the next time you decide to cut a truck off. Or you are running late and speeding down the highway in the left lane “yakking on the phone” only to realize your exit is right there and you cut across three lanes of traffic to get on the exit.

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I'm just a EX-truck driver, trying to pass along a little information. I been in the Trucking Industry as a driver for over 15 years. I have driven both as an owner operator and as a company driver. I have also been a driver instructor for an accredited truck driving school in KY. I am no longer a truck driver, but I consider myself to be a watchdog for the trucking industry. In fact this site is the #1 site for getting the real news about trucking. We don't hold back here, you will hear the full story. Twitter | |Truck Drivers News Facebook
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3 Responses to Driving Drowsy – Does it Happen

  1. Akilla says:

    Hey, I saw you on twitter and found my way to your website, we (Akilla) are an organisation which works against drivers fatigue, it is really interesting to read your views on drowsy driving.

    p.s im http://twitter.com/AkillaNZ

    Reply
  2. Sandy Long says:

    Statistics show that car drivers are found to be twice as often fatigued as truckers in crash reports involving cars…interesting isn’t it? How many car drivers commute an hour both ways for work, then get in the car and drive to go to eat, visit, go to events, shop after working 8-10 hours?

    Truckers get used to the lifestyle and the rythmns of their own bodies. For instance, I get tired between 5-7 am and 4-6 pm no matter if I got up after 8 hours of sleep at 4 am or 3 pm. I am aware of this and will take an extra nap or a break during those times. Of course, with the HOS as they are now, with no flexibility to do this, it makes it difficult…this is what comes of people with no idea of how we work dabbling in our lives and schedules and HOS! Yet somehow I have driven 3-4 million miles without an accident…amazing isn’t it?

    While I agree that there are many issues facing us that perhaps do not allow us to get so called proper rest, there are many of the regulations and state laws that prohibit our doing so also…no parking on on ramps, anti idling laws, rest area time limits, inflexibity of HOS, lack of parking, lack of enforcement to keep truck stops and rest areas safe and free of drug dealers and hookers so we are not awakened every little bit, no regulation of shippers/receivers and the times they hold us; etc.

    What we really need are so called safety organizations that actually talk to otr drivers along with all other drivers (many of the drivers who are talked to now even by our government are LTL drivers or local delivery drivers) and work with us instead of against us to make rules and regs that actually address the real issues of safety on the road and in our jobs, not use stupid studies from India et al about fatigue or scare tactics to achieve their agendas.

    JMO
    Sandy Long
    (please include my email)[email protected]

    Reply
  3. Bill R says:

    Adding to this, CSA 2010 is coming faster than most drivers are prepared for. It is going to be more and more difficult to get by with an accident on your record. The first phase of CSA 2010 is scheduled to take effect in the next few weeks, and you can read about it more on our blog http://www.adslogistics.com/blog. Do you think CSA 2010 is the proper step for the government to take in trying to make the trucking industry safer, or are they ignoring the more important issues in our industry?

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