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Who Is Responsible For Truck Driver Fatigue?

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Its time we stop dancing around the facts of why these terrible incidents occur. Nearly every trucker I know will explain to dispatch that they are too tired to pull a load that they have just been given. We all know that manydispatcherswill whine an

Who Is Responsible For Truck Driver Fatigue?

It’s time we stop dancing around the facts of why these terrible incidents occur.  Nearly every trucker I know will explain to dispatch that they are too tired to pull a load that they have just been given. 

We all know that many dispatchers will whine and plead with the driver that the “load has to get there” and they are the only driver available at that time and place.  If the driver continues his or her stance on being too tired, dispatch will very often turn to the retaliation mode and shut the driver down by making them sit for days incurring no income, provide them with poor paying loads or at worse, find a way to dismiss the driver from their employment.

Professional truck drivers will often find themselves in a position where they must determine whether or not to make the forced run or risk losing the job and their means of support for their families.  If truck drivers feel they are too tired to run a load, they should have the right to say “No” and be allowed to rest without the fear of retaliation.   I have known many drivers who went ahead and took the load, ended up in an accident due to fatigue, and when they made contact with dispatch again, the dispatcher responded with, “Well, you shouldn’t have taken the load if you were too tired.”

Motor carriers can get away with this, simply because nothing is ever recorded or written down as to what conversation between driver and dispatcher went down. The fault, in OTR truck driving, will always come back on the driver.  The dispatcher, load coordinator, dispatch supervisor or any company authority figure will never have the character or moral ethics to admit that the wrong-doing came from them. Many times, they would rather risk endangering the life of the truck driver and the general public, all for the sake of getting the load picked up and delivered on time.

Why was the driver so tired that he or she fell asleep?  Are there not regulations for truck drivers requiring them to be given the opportunity for rest?  Of course there are, but these Federal Regulations mean nothing when the driver is faced with forced, retaliation measures from the motor carriers.

Many trucking companies have in regards to forcing a driver to continue running, even when the driver has expressed, within his or her legal rights, that they are too tired to drive and they need to get sleep and rest. Who would be held responsible if one of the drivers’ fell asleep at the wheel?  The FMCSA? The ATA? The trucking company? No, I can guarantee you that it would be the truck driver.

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