5 Tips for Truck Driver Fatigue Management

Truck Driver Fatigue Management

Hauling freight is a heavy responsibility. Highly-skilled truck drivers outperform their counterparts by a significant margin. Research shows they have a 35 percent better miles-per-gallon performance. But drivers of all skill levels deal with driver fatigue.

To combat this, FMCSA safety regulations limit drivers to 70-hour weeks. This marked a decrease from 82 hours as the high before 2013. After 70 hours, truck drivers have to rest 34 consecutive hours before hitting the road again. Drivers can spend upwards of 11 hours on the road per day before they have to take a significant break.

Varying outlets report approximately four to five hours of sleep for drivers. Many take naps when possible, but it’s not the same as a full seven-or-eight-hour night of rest. This may explain why driver fatigue is one of the top 10 factors in commercial vehicle accidents.

Signs of driver fatigue include:

  • blurry vision
  • increase in smaller mistakes
  • excessive nodding
  • inability to keep your eyes open
  • changes in mood
  • decreased alertness and ability to concentrate
  • not refreshed by longer sleep sessions

With truck drivers moving more than 70 percent of the nation’s freight by weight, they provide a valuable service. To keep everyone a little safer on the road, check out these tips for truck driver fatigue management.

5 Tips for Managing Driver Fatigue

1. Sleep well before long hauls

It is well-known fatigue affects response times, performance and critical thinking abilities. But when it’s time to move freight, many drivers face high expectations and great pressure. Make a point to get as much quality sleep as possible before long trips. On days off drivers should sleep at the same time to help their body get better rest. When on the road, if it becomes necessary, they can pull over to take a “power nap” for a quick refresh.

2. Follow Hours of Service regulations

For some truck drivers, it can be tempting to manipulate the numbers. With deadlines to meet, clients to please and money to earn, drivers may stay on the road longer than HoS allows. Drivers should take regular breaks and log all necessary time.

3. Keep moving when the truck isn’t in motion

When they’re not on the road, maintaining a consistent exercise plan can help. Exercise helps keep the mind sharp and, of course, gives more physical endurance. On longer trips, drivers should take advantage of breaks to get in a little exercise and some sleep.

4. Snack smarter

It’s often easy to grab a sugary snack or caffeinated beverage for a quick fill up. Drivers should eat well-balanced meals at consistent intervals. This isn’t always feasible, but if it happens more often than not, it helps. When it’s time for a snack, truck stops now have a decent selection of healthier options. Sugar and caffeine give the initial rush of energy but cause a significant slump later. Remind drivers to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated.

5. Maintain medications

Everyone has to take medications at some time. Whether it’s an over-the-counter medication or a prescription, take it wisely. Truck drivers have to be aware of the side effects and interactions of any medication they take.

Truck drivers have to decide to take steps to fight driver fatigue. Training helps and well-trained drivers make for a more profitable fleet. To learn more about how online training can help your fleet, request a demo of the Infinit-I Workforce System.

Support Free Demo

Client Support: 877.792.3866

Sales: 866.904.5087