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New Restart Requirement Reduces Fatigue Among Truck Drivers

Rest breaks used to “restart” truck drivers’ duty cycles are more effective at reducing fatigue when they include two periods of nighttime sleep, according to a recent study. Federal hours-of-service rules require restart breaks to last 34 consecutive hours to ensure drivers are sufficiently rested before they being their next duty cycle. A new rule that went into effect last July requires drivers to sleep for two periods between 1am and 5am, when the body most benefits from sleep. 106 drivers were tracked using restarts through two duty cycles in early 2013. One group had only one nighttime sleep period during restarts and another group had two nights. Drivers with only one nighttime sleep period had more lapses of attention, the study found. These drivers were sleepier near the end of their shifts and served out of their lanes more often. Drivers with two nighttime sleep periods slept more hours on average and scored better on alertness and fatigue tests. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident, Finkelstein and Partners can help. Fill out our free evaluation form today. Read more about this study from National Safety Council’s Safety and Health Magazine.