Your job is unique from other occupations. While many other Pennsylvania workers clock out after 8 hours, you’re still hard at work navigating your truck on the roadways. Although the nature of your job is different, you also have legal rights while in the “workplace.”
Too often, employers do not make sure that truck drivers have fair working hours. An investigation in California revealed that some companies might pressure truckers to skip breaks or work double shifts. This has a number of consequences, but perhaps the most dangerous outcome is increased fatigue behind the wheel.
Dangers of fatigue
Sleepiness significantly impacts your ability to drive. Reaction times to road obstacles are slower and you are more prone to swerving off the road or into other lanes.
Furthermore, tired truckers pose a greater safety threat due to the sheer weight and power of commercial vehicles. Accidents involving trucks are much more likely to cause serious injury, including brain and spinal damage.
Pressures of work
Many truck drivers feel that they have no option to drive safely. Deadlines, odd spacing of shifts, and even threats of termination or pay revocation all affected the truckers in the study. These employer-related factors may be to blame for their lack of adequate break time – as well as the countless injuries and loss of life in truck accidents.
One trucker claimed that he regularly worked 16 hour shifts despite fatigue. He reported that he splashed his face with ice water just to stay alert.
You may also notice yourself doing whatever you can to stay awake and prevent serious accidents. Coffee and energy drinks can only help so much, which is why employers are legally obligated to allow workers to rest for a sufficient time between shifts.