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Government to launch new study on trucker fatigue

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California residents have good reason to be concerned about fatigued truck drivers. They should know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking to launch a new study to find just what type of break requirements may be most effective at combatting fatigue among truckers.

Currently, truckers are required to take 10 hours of time off of driving at specified points in their work weeks. For drivers in trucks with sleeping berths, truckers must spend either eight or 10 of those break hours in the sleeping berth or in non-working capacities. The FMCSA is going to start a new study this fall that will examine the pros and cons of expanding truckers' options here. Instead of only choosing eight or 10 hours, drivers would be able to select other combinations of time in sleeping berths along with time spent elsewhere. The combinations could be five and five, four and six and seven and three hours.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University will both contribute to the study. Participants will be monitored and will also take up to four short tests each day that measure psychomotor factors indicating their level of fatigue or performance functioning.

While the hope of this study is to improve safety, Californians in the meantime still face dangers when sharing roads with semi trucks. When involved in an accident, people may wish to talk with a lawyer to learn about compensation options.

Source: Commercial Carrier Journal, "FMCSA's study on adding split sleeper berth flexibility to hours of service could start this year," April 6, 2017


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