One of the biggest challenges that truckers face is the responsibility of delivering their cargo safely, undamaged and on time. Unrealistic deadlines and tight delivery schedules can compromise trucker safety, increase stress and encourage unsafe driving practices.
Trucking companies must understand and adhere to federal guidelines for driving maximums. They should also provide their drivers with adequate training and implement some form of trucking log to encourage responsible driving practices.
Understanding federal requirements
Companies found in violation of federal requirements or reported for unfair scheduling practices could face legal penalties. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truckers driving in excess of 8 hours must take a 30-minute break prior to reaching the 8-hour mark. Drivers cannot drive longer than 11 hours in a 14-hour period. Before beginning a new shift, a trucker should have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.
When truckers encounter inclement weather, their route could take significantly longer to drive. Under these circumstances, federal law allows truckers to extend both their 11-hour and 14-hour limits by 2 hours.
Scheduling with the driver in mind
When trucking companies put together their delivery schedule, they should consider the needs and safety of each of their drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that revealed that a staggering 73 percent of truckers feel their delivery requirements are not realistic.
In addition to driving time, schedulers should account for the time required to properly load and secure cargo. Trucking companies can ask their drivers for feedback to better understand the needs of their workers to prevent misunderstandings and unrealistic requirements from compromising safety and efficiency.