Truck Drivers Must Take Break Before Hitting the Road Again

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A Georgia truck driver is accused of being awake for more than 24 hours, which resulted in a collision with another vehicle that killed one and injured four others on a New Jersey turn pike. It’s brought to light the issue on truck drivers and the amount of rest they must get before starting their day.

Wyoming Trucking Association Managing Director Sheila Foertsch says, "A truck driver is a professional driver. He's been trained; He takes the exams that are necessary; He meets a medical physical every two years to make sure he is medically qualified to drive."

There are laws in place to make sure truck drivers are safe out on the road. Federal Regulations state a driver must rest at least ten hours before hitting the road again "No more than 11 hours maximum driving time during the day and they are required to have ten hours off between shifts,” Foertsch said, but that’s not all the rest they have to get. C & Y Transportation Company President Roy Cohee says, "If they approach 70 hours in an 8 day period at some point they have to stop and take a complete rest. The federal government requirement, which is being discussed right now, is a 34 hour rest break that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m."

Laws also require every truck driver traveling throughout the country to have a log book on hand, tracking the amount of time they’ve been driving and the amount of rest they’ve been getting. "It's a written book that they write the amount of time they're driving, the amount of time they're off duty, the amount of time they're loading and un-loading and taking rest brakes. Those are all captured on a daily 24 hour sheet," Cohee said.

If a driver forgets to fill their log book out and gets pulled over, they can expect to receive a ticket. Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Kyte says, "If they went over their 11 hours driving time or had an out of service violation, they’d be out of service automatically for ten hours to reset the ten hour clock and then also get a 170 dollar ticket.”

Although, it doesn’t happen often, some drivers may feel the need to fudge their books to get to their location faster, but it’s getting a lot harder to do. "Our company has a GPS system in it so we can see what the truck is doing. So the paper logs have to match what the electronic logs show," Cohee said.

The head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has already gone before the United States Senate to introduce a new type of tracking method. "There is becoming a bigger push for electronic logging devices, ELDS, and in fact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety is in the process of making them mandatory for every truck to have an ELD in it," Foertsch said.