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Are long trucker commutes endangering motorists?

Anytime you take to the roadway in Montana, you run the risk of encountering commercial trucks. While some semi-truck drivers and commercial trucking companies regularly follow the rules of the road, others engage in dangerous driving behaviors, such as driving after drinking, or driving while distracted, while on the clock. While the dangers of truck drivers driving drunk or distracted are well-documented, some believe a new risk is endangering American motorists, and it stems from increasingly long trucker commutes.

Per, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration believes the dangers posed by long trucker commutes are substantial enough to warrant additional studies and research. As such, the agency is proposing a survey that would not only reveal information about how widespread long trucker commutes are, but also exactly how they endanger others on the state and nation’s roads.

For the purposes of the survey, “long trucker commutes” refer to any that last in excess of 150 minutes, and safety advocates believe these excessively long commutes compromise safety in several different ways. Arguably one of the most significant claims the FMCSA makes is that long trucker commutes cut into truckers’ off-duty hours, which they typically reserve for sleep, leisure and so on. This makes truckers more likely to drive fatigued, which can create a whole new range of problems. Additionally, long trucker commutes affect trucker health, and they can make drivers more likely to suffer heart attacks or other episodes behind the wheel that can impact their ability to maneuver such large vehicles.

Why are so many truckers driving such long distances before clocking in for the workday? In many cases, a lack of affordable housing options is to blame. Many truckers cannot afford to live near urban centers, where many trucking companies have headquarters, leaving them with little choice other than to live far away and commute in to work.

This information about the dangers associated with long trucker commutes is educational in nature and is not a replacement for legal advice.


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