Long Drive Ahead? Tips for Truckers to Stay Alert Behind the Wheel

Did you know that driving drowsy can be as risky as driving drunk? Truck drivers on the road for more than eight hours are more likely to be in a fatigue-related crash than truck drivers who take regular breaks.

The best way to stay alert is to get enough sleep before driving.

Generally, your body needs about seven to eight hours of continuous restful sleep in a 24-hour period.

Know the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

  • Can't remember the last few miles driven
  • Drifting from lanes or hitting rumble strips
  • Wandering or disconnected thoughts
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Difficulty focusing or keeping eyes open
  • Tailgating or missing traffic signs
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Jerking the vehicle back into the lane

You can't control when your body will fall asleep. If you are experiencing ANY of these warning signs, pull over as soon as possible and get some sleep. A nap as short as 20 minutes can improve alertness for two to three hours. Caffeine may also help you stay alert for the short-term. Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to have an effect, pull over for a caffeinated beverage, take a short nap, and then get back on the road.

Talk to your doctor or a local sleep disorders center if you have frequent daytime sleepiness, difficulty sleeping at night and/or snore loudly every night. You may have a sleep disorder which is often treatable.

For more information about drowsy driving prevention, go to safeny.ny.gov or health.ny.gov

2005 Hours-of-Service Rules Property-Carrying Commercial Vehicle Drivers (CMV)

  • May drive up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • May not drive past the 14th hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
  • May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.
  • CMV drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

Local Drivers Operating Non-CDL Required Commercial Vehicles

Drivers of property-carrying CMVs which do not require a Commercial Driver's License for operation who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location:

  • May drive up to 11 hours after coming on duty following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty.
  • While drivers do not have to fill out a daily log, the MC is required to keep records of duty status (time cards)."
  • May not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty 5 days a week or after the 16th hour after coming on duty two days a week.