Working Conditions for Long-Haul Operators.

Driving a truck, especially long-haul, is a difficult lifestyle. There are long and irregular hours, poor living conditions on the road, and large amounts of time away from home. Often these conditions are exacerbated by poor treatment from shippers, receivers, and even their own company personnel.

There is strong evidence of a link between the economic and scheduling pressures on drivers and crashes and violations of hours-of-service regulations. Analyses of how working conditions affect safety revealed that truckers who drive in excess of hours-of-service regulations, young drivers, and interstate drivers are the most likely to have an increased relative risk of crash involvement.

Addressing the poor working conditions that contribute to driver turnover and safety problems is an urgent need in the industry. To a degree, larger and more comfortable sleeper berths, which are found in newer model tractors, may help as will more and better rest areas with greater capacity for safely parking tractor-trailers. Also, modest reductions in transit times may be achieved through company provided conveniences such as electronic toll passes. Finally, an essential component in reducing the exposure of long-haul truckers to those working conditions that pose the most serious risks to health and safety is more effective monitoring and more stringent enforcement of carrier compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

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