FMCSA to examine excessive commuting in the trucking industry

Commuting to work can be a headache for anyone, between the boredom, traffic and the time away from family. Additionally, excessive commuting could present particularly troubling fatigue-related problems for people who work as drivers in the trucking and transportation industries.

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed a survey to assess how many drivers routinely commute for more than 150 minutes for their job, calling it "excessive commuting."

What factors contribute to excessive commuting?

Economic factors play a considerable role in the increase of commuting times. As noted in this report from, people are living further away from their jobs to secure affordable housing. There are also more workers in the trucking industry than there were just 20 years ago.

Why is excessive commuting a concern?

Driving for a living already comes with some amount of risk of getting into a serious accident. As such, there are strict regulations in place for the trucking industry, including Hours of Service regulations. These are rules that limit the amount of time a driver can be on the road as well as how long he or she must take breaks and be off duty.

If a trucker commutes more than a couple hours just to get to work, this can increase the likelihood of fatigue. When drivers are drowsy or fatigued, they can fall asleep at the wheel and/or experience impaired reflexes and judgment. 

The FMSCA also notes that excessive commuting among truckers can lead to health complications and compromise off-duty time, as well.

It will be interesting to see the results of this proposed survey as well as whether those results will affect standards in the trucking industry. In the meantime, motorists should remember the risks of driving while sleepy and discuss your legal options with an attorney if you get into an accident involving a drowsy or fatigued driver.

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