Top 5 Wellness Strategies for Fighting Driver Fatigue: Introduction

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 4, 2020 7:34:12 AM / by Deborah Lechner

Driver Wellness Blog Photo for intro

Fighting Driver Fatigue

Introduction to wellness strategies.

In this time of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever to stay as healthy as possible.  It’s one of the most important things everyone can do – besides social distancing.  Why?  It’s a known fact that those who are less healthy are more apt to contract the virus and when they do, the symptoms are often more severe.  In this series of blogs, we’re going to talk about ways that truck drivers can maximize their health – especially those very important drivers who are delivering essential supplies to the public. 

Regulatory Relief

Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) has provided regulatory relief for CMV transportation operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks.

This regulatory relief is necessary to keep essential supplies flowing.  However, this change also puts additional stress on the truck driver’s already stressful job.  Fortunately, there are avenues for an overly fatigued driver to raise his/her hand:

If the “driver informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest, the driver must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to the motor carrier's terminal or the driver's normal reporting location. Once the driver has returned to the terminal or the driver's normal reporting location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities and must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.”

But you and I both know that no one wants to be the first to cry “uncle” especially when there’s a mission critical job to be done.  So how often will drivers self-identify as too fatigued to continue? And if they don’t, the consequences are often severe.

In fact, fatigue can have long- and short-term effects on the brain, resulting in impairment of thinking processes.  Some studies have shown that not getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep has the same sedative effect as drinking 10-11 beers and that being awake for 17 hours with no rest compares to having a blood alcohol level of 0.05%!! And no-one wants to send their drivers out on the road like that!

To minimize the effects of fatigue, as is often said: “The best defense is a good offense.”  It’s up to employers, communities, and drivers to combat driver fatigue with a multifaceted approach. 

How can drivers minimize fatigue?

It’s like many other challenges in life: “The best defense is a good offense.”  And one of the best offenses for fighting fatigue is to be as healthy as possible.  But that’s easier said than done, especially for truck drivers. 

For comprehensive information and resources, download our latest e-book on the Top 5 Wellness Strategies for Minimizing Driver Fatigue, print and share with your drivers.   

For comprehensive information and resources, download our latest e-book on driver wellness!


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Topics: Injury Prevention, Workplace Wellness

Deborah Lechner

Written by Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.