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How to prevent truck driver fatigue

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Truck drivers in California often make long hauls that can entail many hours on the road. While there are laws in place preventing truckers from working too much without sleep, some truck drivers and their companies flout these regulations in order to make more deliveries at a faster rate.

As stated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, trucker fatigue can greatly impact one’s performance behind the wheel. However, there are many methods truckers can utilize to prevent sleepiness from posing a serious risk to themselves and other drivers. For instance, being able to recognize the common signs of fatigue (which include blurring vision and excessive yawning) is imperative to mitigating the chance of a crash.

If a trucker thinks he or she may be experiencing fatigue, a rest break must be taken as soon as possible. While getting the right amount of sleep before a run is the ideal, naps can also help reduce tiredness on long trips. Naps that last at least 45 minutes allow for the greatest recovery for symptoms of fatigue, although even 10 minutes can suffice. Additionally, truck drivers should wait at least 15 minutes before setting out again to ensure the effects of sleep do not cause further impairment.  

To understand just how dangerous trucking accidents can be, one only needs to look at recent statistics. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger vehicles sustain the most damage when involved in collisions with trucks. This has much to do with the larger size of commercial trucks, as well as their diminished capacity for braking suddenly. Fatigue is a factor in many truck crashes, and as a result may have played a role in some of the 3,660 trucking accident deaths that occurred in 2014.

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