Do Mandatory Rest Breaks Put Truckers at Risk?
It’s a burden that comes with the territory. Truck drivers, who are often viewed as having one of the most liberating occupations out there, are subject to strict controls on many different aspects of their job.
One of the strictest and most controversial rules in trucking deals with mandatory rest breaks. On the surface, the mandate seems to have benefits for both the driver and the motoring public. However, some truckers claim it can actually put them at greater risk.
On one hand, truckers are guaranteed a break by law. This means demanding dispatchers will have consequences if they attempt to push a trucker beyond reasonable expectations. The other reason for the tight control of hours-of-service is to protect the motoring public from fatigued drivers. Logic would dictate that the less drowsy drivers there are on the roads, the less accidents there will be.
While mandatory breaks do have their benefits, some truckers claim the stringent requirements make it hard for them to do their job properly. When a truck driver is on the road, they can make up time and get ahead if the opportunity is available. But image working in a factory, retailer, or any other type of traditional job and having management hovering around with a timer.
This isn’t to say trucking is the only job where the management of breaks is very strict. Though the comparison isn’t fully equal since commercial trucks have the ability to do more damage should a driver nod off after skipping a break, the resting period isn’t always as peaceful as the name implies.
Drivers who find their mandatory break time has rolled around must then find a suitable area to park, and a safe area to take their rest.
These areas aren’t always available around every corner. The result can be drivers either crafting their route around their break (which could lead to inefficiencies) or drivers ending up in a bad spot.
Drivers may be forced to park in non-truck-friendly areas, resulting in their vehicles being towed. If they’re forced to rest at an area that isn’t safe, they can become easy targets for criminals who go after tourists, travelers, and truckers – all because these individuals are usually not familiar with the area.