“Let us sleep when we want to, not when Ottawa says so”
May 1, 2007
Well I did it. From Jan. 1, to Feb. 28, I was a good little trucker and followed the Hours-of-Service regulations - and it was killing me. I had never been so tired and disoriented in all my 20 years ...
Well I did it. From Jan. 1, to Feb. 28, I was a good little trucker and followed the Hours-of-Service regulations – and it was killing me. I had never been so tired and disoriented in all my 20 years of driving. What a farce this is! From my observations, the new HoS regulations have been quite successful in doing the following:
1) Increasing the number of tired truckers on our highways.
2) Increasing the number of truck accidents, especially in the Montreal – Toronto corridor.
3) Increasing the workload for tow truck operators, truck repair facilities, ambulance attendants/EMT’s, emergency room workers and funeral home directors.
4) Increasing sales for oil companies.
5) Increasing the amount of greenhouse gases released into our atmosphere.
Let’s look at the five items above and the reasons behind them:
1) Truckers are now being forced to sleep when the government says they have to, not when they feel they need it, especially in the Montreal-Toronto corridor where the scheduling is tight. Drivers running Toronto to Montreal can no longer afford to take a two-hour nap somewhere along the way because the government now says that if they split their sleep, their total sleep time for the day has to add up to 10 hours instead of eight. This screws up their schedule and they cannot be ready for their scheduled gate time the next night. The driver gets sent home and someone else does his run – all because he stopped for a nap. So what happens? The driver keeps going instead of taking a nap when he needs it and you have one very sleepy, dangerous driver roaming the highway. The government says we have to sleep for eight consecutive hours or if we split our sleep, we have to sleep for a total of 10 hours each day. In theory, this is a good idea but in reality, I haven’t slept that much in one day since I was a teenager. Most drivers will tell you that the most sleep they can manage at a time is four to six hours even when at home.
2) Anyone who has been out there since Jan. 1 can tell you that there has been a drastic increase in the number of accidents in the Toronto-Montreal corridor. MTO, OPP and others will tell you it is because of weather, traffic or any number of other factors. I am telling you that it is because drivers are overtired because of the new HoS regulations and are not as able to cope with changing conditions. They are not as alert as they should be because they are not getting the sleep they need when they need it.
3) Ask any of the people listed and they will tell you that their workload has increased since Jan. 1… I wonder why?
4 & 5) Increased idling time because of the new HoS regulations. Truckers are sitting around doing nothing and idling their trucks to stay warm. My own idling time has increased by 16%.
Just out of curiosity, I threw the new rules out for a week or so and went back to running under the old rules where I only had to sleep for eight hours a day but could do it in any way I wanted as long as no sleep period was less than two hours. WOW! What a difference! It was apparent the very first day. I was much less tired, I felt much more refreshed after sleeping because I was sleeping when I needed it and not when some government executroid deemed that I should. I was more alert and able to cope with changing weather and traffic conditions. I also cut my idling time by two hours a day because I was getting home two hours earlier thus decreasing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
I urge all the truckers and trucking companies out there to write their federal and provincial government members and protest this piece of screwed-up legislation. Sure, tell us that we have to have eight hours sleep a day but let us determine how and when we take it. Let us sleep when we are tired, not when some drone in a government office in Ottawa thinks we should.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News