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Why drowsy driving is a serious concern for truck drivers

Driver fatigue puts anyone on the road, and even some people off the roads, in danger. Imagine driving down the road and suddenly finding yourself face-to-face with a truck going the wrong way or traveling into your lane. Both of these situations are possible and sometimes caused by a drowsy driver behind the wheel. People affected by drowsy driving have the option of filing an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover financial losses.

How many people are affected by traffic crashes every year?

Around 30,000 people die in traffic accidents every year, and while drowsy driving isn't responsible for all of the deaths, it is the cause of some. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has the job of ensuring that truck drivers don't contribute to those deaths by driving and working when they're too tired to do so.

How many people are killed by large trucks?

Around 4,000 people die in large-truck accidents every year, and the leading factor playing a role in those deaths is driver fatigue. In 2011, the FMCSA changed the hours of service rules for drivers to try to address this concern.

Today, drivers have to take at least 30 minutes off work during each 8-hour shift, so they should have time to eat, go to the bathroom and get out of the vehicle for a short time. They also have to take at least 34 hours of rest every seven days. This time is required because it helps them catch up on sleep and makes sure drivers are well-rested before another long week of work.

Drivers are only allowed to drive a maximum of 70 hours every week. They used to be allowed to do more, but reducing the hours means they get more rest and reduces the risk of drowsy driving.

Source: Transportation.gov, "Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue," Anthony Foxx, accessed Sep. 05, 2016

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