Understanding what fatigue is and how to manage it – through rest, diet and other methods – is vital to fostering what Tom DiSalvi, vice president for safety and loss prevention at Schneider, calls the “safety payoff” in trucking operations.
“The biggest piece of truck transportation planning is how to insure drivers are well rested so they can stay alert,” DiSalvi told Fleet Owner magazine. “For us, that starts with education through driver training: gaining an understanding about the sleep cycle, sleep debt, sleep hygiene, and proper fatigue management,” he explained.
DiSalvi touted the importance of truckers finding safe overnight parking. He also suggested truckers do what they can to make their tractor interiors more comfortable for sleeping. Taking such small but important steps will help drivers stay more alert, DiSalvi reasoned.
“It’s about helping drivers be more prepared so they understand the warning signs of fatigue and also know how to counteract it,” DiSalvi said. “We then help tie that into our safety expectations. The whole idea is that the driver is the ‘captain of the ship’ and the need to have the right information to know if they are too tired to drive.”
Better managing fatigue at the wheel ultimately can have lasting benefits, such as improving a fleet’s safety profile and increasing driver retention.
“It develops a stronger and more [positive] relationship between drivers and front-line managers,” DiSalvi noted.
Some trucking companies are becoming proactive in combatting on-the-job fatigue. Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL), for instance, implemented a sleep apnea interdiction program designed by FusionHealth back in 2011. Learn about the positive results they saw and read more of the article here.
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