One of the most dangerous situations to occur on the road is when a driver becomes fatigued. The Hours of Service (HOS) rules for truck drivers exist for this very reason, but they’re NOT fool-proof. Carriers – and all their employees – need to be involved in the education and acknowledgement of fatigue and its side effects to ensure the safety of themselves and everyone on the road with them.
Start With a Culture of Safety
It’s important for everyone in the organization, from the top down, to embrace a culture of safety, and not only talk about it but to live it as well. Part of this culture might be the implementation of a driver wellness program. After all, a healthy driver is a more productive (and safe) driver. It’s important that a system of checks and balances exist within your organization that goes beyond HOS compliance in order to more effectively support – and advocate for – your drivers.
Education and Training for Everyone
Fatigue is the root cause of many safety issues including accidents, injuries, and loss of production. But it is often overlooked for a variety of reasons, chief among them being a lack of education on the signs, symptoms, and effects of fatigue. Drivers aren’t the only ones who need this training. It’s important that ALL transportation personnel are aware of the dangers of fatigue and are trained to recognize the signs. This will help ensure that your employees don’t pressure drivers to work beyond their limits and compromise the underpinning goal of safety that should define your organization.
Scheduling is Key
Carriers need to be sure that they’re not doing anything to undermine their drivers’ sleep patterns. Part of the solution to this issue is to take a careful look at the drivers’ schedules and ensure that day drivers really do drive during the day, and night drivers really do drive during the night. By building routes that help drivers adhere to a set sleep schedule, you can safeguard that your drivers are restful, productive, and SAFE.
Provide Sleep Disorder Screening and Treatment
There are several medical conditions that can cause sleep disorders, and many of these remain undiagnosed. It’s estimated that 28% of drivers suffer from sleep apnea, a condition where someone stops breathing repeatedly through the night – whether they’re aware of it or not. Drivers with untreated sleep apnea are 4-5 times more likely to be involved in a severe crash, and are at the same risk of an accident as a driver with a .08 BAC. Armed with this knowledge, your organization can mitigate their risk by ensuring that your drivers get the testing and treatment they may need in order to prevent an unsafe situation in the future.
InfoStream, an EBE company, draws upon more than 45 years of experience in transportation safety and compliance solutions to incorporate both outsourced and internally managed compliance services and software. InfoStream combines first-class workflow technology with unmatched customer service to create a standard that is unlike other compliance offerings in the industry, aggregating data from a variety of sources into a single, comprehensive view to improve regulatory compliance and positively impact ROI.