Long-distance road trips can take a toll on any motor vehicle driver. However, for most people, consistent long hours behind the wheel are only occasional.
Truck drivers, on the other hand, devote their careers to transporting materials from one location to the next. To some, it may seem as though driving a tractor-trailer is an easy job. In reality, there may be many factors that contribute to a truck driver’s fatigued condition.
How could driving a truck become tiresome?
If you work a traditional 9-to-5 job, you likely report to work on time and complete as many tasks as possible before heading home at the end of your shift. In return, you can expect to receive your hourly pay rate, regardless of what you accomplished.
Earning a living can be a bit more complicated for commercial drivers. For example, there’s a near-constant struggle with:
- Time limits. Although there are some exceptions to federal trucking regulations, long-haul drivers must follow specific stipulations about their hours of service. This can include required breaks, a maximum number of hours driven within a week and the amount of time spent working each day.
- Delivery demands. Assigned loads typically have a scheduled delivery date and time, and these aren’t always realistic – or legal. In some cases, bonus offers might entice a driver to extend their time on the road, despite governing restrictions.
- Pay per mile. On average, commercial drivers earn more than $60,000 per year. However, compensation is typically contingent on the distance covered. While most work time is spent in the driver’s seat, additional job duties can include record keeping, vehicle inspections, customer service and unloading the trailer. Pay, meanwhile, often relates only to the miles involved in commercial service.
While that may not sound extreme, consider how inclement weather, mechanical problems, road construction and traffic congestion could influence any, if not all, of the above. Given a quick overview of the logistics industry, it is pretty easy to see how fatigue can become a reality.
Reasons are not excuses
Truck drivers must be mindful that they have a serious responsibility when transporting consumables or hazardous materials, which is common in Texas. Safety must be a priority for truckers to minimize the chances of exposing themselves and those around them to unnecessary danger on the road.
There is a known correlation between drowsy driving and motor vehicle accident injuries. Therefore, violations of transportation laws and driver irresponsibility that cause harm to others should result in accountability.