Should time away from home be systematically limited?

Published October, 24 2013
This letter's author, Cary Goodman, owns and operates this 2012 Peterbilt 386 and 2013 Western flatbed. He lives in Rapid City, S.D.
This letter’s author, Cary Goodman, owns and operates this 2012 Peterbilt 386 and 2013 Western flatbed and lives in Rapid City, S.D.

In this day and age when the federal government seems to want to get involved in all aspects of the trucking industry, especially those pertaining to public safety and driver fitness, why is it that one key issue has never been addressed?

I’m talking about the length of time a carrier is allowed to keep a driver out. To me, a driver’s mental state of mind is almost as important as most other driver-related safety factors such as distractions and fatigue. I’ve been driving for more than 30 years, and there have been times when things happening at home definitely distracted me to the point where I shouldn’t have been driving. It was by the grace of God and years of experience that got me through those tough times. This has to be especially hard on the new drivers just coming into the trade. There is nothing, and I repeat, nothing more distracting to a driver than things happening at home that he cannot get home to resolve.

I just recently saw an ad looking for drivers that were expected to stay out for four months — that, in my mind should be illegal. I surely wouldn’t want to meet this driver on the road anywhere. Has there ever been a study done of crash instances where a driver’s length of time away from home has been addressed? 

 

Not specifically that we know of, Cary, but that’s not to say it hasn’t come up in the literature on crash causation/risk at some point. Can anyone in the audience think of a study where time away from home has been identified as a factor in crash risk/causation? Tell us in the comments. 

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