Employee Fatigue Can Increase Crash Risk

05/31/2016

How tired are your drivers? Fatigue is a reality for over-the-road trucking, and even people who drive local trucks and service vehicles can get tired, but fleet managers need to realize the safety risk associated with tired drivers. If your drivers are regularly driving fatigued, you are putting them and your business at risk.

Driver Fatigue — The Statistics

Just how dangerous is driver fatigue? According to statistics, very dangerous.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers involved in an accident were fatigued when they crashed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 of the police-reported crashes that happen every year — resulting in 1,550 deaths and $12.5 billion in losses — occur as a direct result of driver fatigue.

In spite of these statistics, drivers continue to drive with little sleep. In fact, about one out of every 25 adult drivers will report having fallen asleep at the wheel sometime in the past 30 days. This is a serious — and potentially fatal — risk.

Yet, fatigue is a risk for a number of reasons, and not just because the driver may fall asleep. Being drowsy affects the driver's decision-making abilities, can slow reaction times, and can make it difficult to pay attention to the road. Bottom line fatigue can hinder the success of your business as much or more than any tangible cost factor.

Driver Fatigue — The Law

It's impossible to measure fatigue. For this reason, laws designed to prevent driver fatigue focus on limiting the number of hours a driver is allowed to be on the road. If your drivers are found driving with too many hours on the books, you face stiff penalties. If a fatigued driver is involved in an accident, your liability increases significantly.

Hours of Service regulations are federal laws. All drivers must adhere to them. The legal facts are clear. For property carrying drivers, drivers may drive up to 11 hours after 10 hours off duty. Drivers are also limited to 14 on-duty hours, which may include up to three hours of non-driving behavior, after a 10-hour off-duty period. After 60 to 70 on-duty hours in seven to eight consecutive days, the driver must take 34 or more consecutive hours off duty before driving again.

Use Fleet Tracking Systems to Track Driver Hours and Limit Fatigue

Because fatigue cannot be accurately measured, you need a tool that shows how many hours drivers have been on duty and highlights driver behaviors that could indicate fatigue problems. Vehicle tracking devices can do both.

Modern GPS vehicle tracking systems electronically log driver hours, allowing your company to be compliant with new electronic logging regulations. In addition, they can provide information about driver behavior — including erratic behavior that can indicate fatigue is a problem — so you can take measures to ensure your drivers are well rested.

If you are looking for a GPS vehicle tracking system that can help your fleet stay compliant and your drivers stay safe, trust Track Your Truck. Our fleet tracking devices are easy to use, provide excellent details about driver behavior and location, and can help ensure your drivers adhere to Hours of Service regulations. Contact Track Your Truck today for a demonstration of our GPS fleet tracking systems.

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