One of the biggest risks of operating a big rig can be the long work hours. With strict deadlines, truckers may feel forced into sleep deprivation in order to get their load to its destination on time. A drowsy driver in control of an 18-wheeler could be deadly for anyone else on the road and it could also negatively affect your truck insurance premiums if an accident occurs. With various cases involving truckers falling sleep behind the wheel in recent years, the Federal Government has decided to step in. According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration news brief, the following changes must be made to the work schedules of truckers:
- One of the new rules requires that truckers are no longer allowed to work for more than 70 hours in any given week, which means many drivers will free up 12 hours from their schedule, as the old limit was 82 hours per week.
- A driver also should not drive for longer than 11 hours in a day. He or she must pull over for at least 30 minutes after working for a full 8 hours.
- Upon completing the maximum 70 weekly hours, new regulations force truckers to take 34 hours off to catch up on their sleep. They can only begin work again after that 34 hour period has passed.
To reinforce these new rules, the Federal Government has seen fit to punish violators with fines from $2,400 up to $11,000. Between the potential fines and increased truck insurance premiums it will be more worth your while than ever to ensure your drivers are well rested. The rules were written to save lives so make sure you are in compliance by July 1, 2013.