If you are like many motorists, you may feel uneasy anytime you find yourself sharing the road with commercial trucks. In addition to slowing you down and obstructing your vision, these trucks often pose additional dangers because of their large size and considerable weight.
This may prove particularly true when the people driving them are overtired. Regrettably, trucker exhaustion is a serious problem in America. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon suggests that part of the problem lies in the fact that there simply are not enough places for truckers to safely stop and rest.
The necessity of proper rest
Federal regulations require all “property carrying” commercial truck drivers to take an at least 10-hour rest period for every 11 hours they spend behind the wheel. Such guidelines are in place in an attempt to minimize the number of truck accidents caused by drivers taking to the roadway without sufficient sleep. Without adequate rest, truckers are more likely to make errors of judgment and other mistakes that endanger public safety, placing you and everyone on the roadway at risk.
However, the intense, overwhelming demand for parking spots at many rest stops is making it harder for semi-truck drivers to pull over and rest. When truckers cannot find sufficient parking at truck stops and rest areas, they sometimes have few options other than to park in less safe areas, such as a highway emergency lane. This practice can present an assortment of problems and potential hazards for other motorists. But when truckers do not pull over and instead drive while exhausted, accident risks rise considerably.
Although this research has provided a better understanding of the problem, solutions are not immediate or obvious. In the meantime, overtired truckers or improperly parked tractor-trailers can present dangers on the road that all drivers should stay aware of.