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Study: 2 nights of sleep are better than 1 for truck drivers

Anyone who has driven in Chalfont has likely seen some large semitrailer trucks on the road. While trucking is an important business in Pennsylvania, the truck industry has historically been very concerned with profits, sometimes at the cost of motorist safety. Sadly, there are a number of truck accidents that happen in the Philadelphia metro area each year, many of which are fatal. Sometimes, the accident could easily have been prevented if the trucker had just one night more of sleep.

Under the old trucking rules put in place by the federal government, a driver needed only take 34 hours between duty "cycles." Although 34 hours off sounds nice to many people, that could have been after working for several days in a row. Without sufficient sleep, drivers were sleep deprived, fatigued and had trouble paying attention.

Fortunately, however, there have been some new changes put in place that will likely make trucks much safer on Chalfont's roads. The biggest change is that now truckers may only work 60 or 70 hours within a duty cycle (typically seven- or eight-day periods). Moreover, truckers must have at laest two night periods during their 34 hours off. If the driver gets in at an odd hour and wouldn't be able to get two night periods in during the 34 hours, he or she must prolong the time off to get both night periods.

According to a new study, that extra night period off has really helped. Truckers are much safer on the road than those who only had one night off.

Source: Huffington Post, “New Safety Rules For Truck Drivers Effectively Reduce Fatigue,” Feb. 3, 2014

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