Anyone who has observed a driver who is attempting to operate a vehicle on too little sleep knows how dangerous this practice can be. In some cases, a fatigued driver can resemble a drunk or drugged driver travelling down the highway, as both types of drivers operate erratically enough to cause serious accidents.
Fatigued driving is particularly dangerous when it comes to operators of large trucks, as semitruck accident injuries can be especially devastating given the size difference between a big rig and a private passenger vehicle.
This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has promulgated rules requiring truckers and, for that matter, bus drivers and other commercial operators, to take periodic rest breaks so they have time to take a nap. After all, coffee, turning the radio up, and rolling down one’s window ultimately don’t make a driver less fatigued; only a quality sleep can do that.
To summarize, these rest rules require a hauler of property to take a 10-hour break after 11 hours of driving time. Moreover, because shorter breaks for gas, bathroom, and food stops do not count as part of the driver’s 11 hours, a trucker must take a 10-hour break in any event after 14 hours on the road. Weekly limits to how much a trucker can work also apply, and slightly different rules apply to carriers of passengers.
When a trucker ignores these rules or a trucking company winks at them, both may face stiff fines and, in flagrant cases, even lose their privilege of operating commercial vehicles in interstate commerce. Moreover, should they cause an accident in the Green Bay or Manitowoc area, a Northeast Wisconsin semitruck accident injury lawyer may use their violation of the rest rules to secure compensation for the victims of the accident.