Legislation and enforcement

European legislation has imposed regulations (EU 3820/85 and 3821/85) on the trucking industry to improve driver safety. The regulations limit the amount of time truckers are allowed to work during a 24 h period to a maximum of 9 hours per day, with the possibility of working 10 hours per day two days a week. After six consecutive working days, drivers are mandated to take a weekly rest period of at least 45 consecutive hours of freely disposed time. This legislation may not be enough, since sleep loss is cumulative and EEC law cannot influence sleep behaviour during weekends [89].


Driving hours regulations which are applied in Europe and a number of other countries are intended to reduce the risk of drivers suffering from fatigue. It seems self-evident, that if obeyed, these regulations will reduce the risk of crashes involving fatigue. However, ETSC [32] argues that the current European regulations are not very effective in delivering safety benefits. According to the ETSC, the EU regulations allow an average work span of 13 hours or more during one week, while the crash risk doubles after 11 hours of work span. ETSC [32] concludes that working and driving time are controlled in the same regulation. It is essential to reduce permissible driving time to an extent that will bring total working time within acceptable limits. Furthermore, the ETSC notes that there is no consistent enforcement strategy across the Union. There is a large variation in enforcement agencies and also a large variation in sanctions. Also, the legal accountability for driving hours violations the driver or the company? is not clearly worked out.


Jones et al [56] compared legislation concerning fatigue in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and USA on eight criteria. These criteria were based on their established relationship with fatigue. These criteria were: time of day; the 24-hour rhythm; duration of sleep; quality of sleep; predictability of sleep; sleep deprivation; duration of task performance; and presence of short breaks. The authors conclude that for neither of four transport modalities (road, air, water, rail) legislation takes these criteria fully into account. They argue for a mix of prescriptive legislation and non-prescriptive guidelines (e.g. fatigue management programs) in order to obtain the best counter-fatigue strategy.


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