Posted by : attorney stevelee

DOT to Truck Drivers: Drive Less, Sleep More—Or Else

It is a problem in every industry, but especially pronounced in the trucking industry: drivers foregoing rest in favor of preserving a deadline.

When anyone else skips on sleep to meet a deadline, they may feel the effects the next day at work. Feeling sluggish, drowsy, and unfocused may be frowned upon in most offices, but the damage will end there. If a truck driver is fatigued, however, he or she may end up hurting or killing people if they are involved in a wreck. This potential for harm is why lawmakers keep trying to address fatigue, but with little luck—until now.

While truck drivers are under intense pressure to meet delivery deadlines, they are also relatively unsupervised on the road. For them, the honor system is what keeps them following the rules and regulations—speed limits, rest breaks, regular load inspections, and the like. While many drivers take their safety very seriously, there are also many that push themselves beyond their limits in order to maintain their on-time performance.

DOT May Require Electronic Logbooks

The United States Department of Transportation has other plans, however. A proposed rule to mandate electronic logbooks could be in effect as early as September of 2015, and the industry’s reaction is firmly divided. Electronic logbooks can monitor a trucker’s rest and driving schedule, and are far more difficult to manipulate than standard paper logs.

While these logbooks may significantly affect delivery schedules and even increase shipping costs, these effects only highlight how system efficiency has relied on unsafe driving practices far too heavily. What are your thoughts on these new electronic logs? Will they make the road safer, or is there a better method for handling driver fatigue? Sound off below in our comment section, or start a discussion on social media!

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