Virginia Tech Will Study Truck Driver Safety

Virginia Tech announced this week that it is launching a new study for $2.5 million that will look into sleeping patterns and federal regulations for commercial truck drivers. Current federal law mandates that truck drivers must log 10 straight off duty hours so that they are not driving when they are sleepy.

The study will focus on a more flexible hours of service safety provision that would allow big rig drivers to split their required sleeping time into shorter periods.


Many truck drivers think that the rules should be more flexible, and the study is going to use a strategy of letting the subjects sleep when they are sleepy. Then, researchers plan to measure violations on the road, fatigue and crashes.

The study is being funded by a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The study will recruit at least 200 big rig drivers who use their sleeper berths regularly, and will include drivers from carriers of all sizes. The study will use on board video systems to collect information about driver behavior. Sleeping pattern data will be obtained using a small activity monitor that is worn by the driver on the wrist.

As Virginia trucking accident lawyers, we have worked on so many tragic crashes caused by truck drivers who fell asleep behind the wheel. There are so many easy ways to prevent most of these crashes, and we are glad that research is being done to hopefully cut down on fatigued driver accidents.

Truckers can help to avoid getting in wrecks due to fatigue in these ways:

  • Closely follow all federal trucking regulations
  • Keep accurate sleep log books
  • Make sure to rest and sleep when you are not driving
  • Put safety ahead of profits
  • Pull over right away when you are tired

By following some of these simple rules, truck drivers can avoid serious accidents – and major lawsuits that cost them and their companies millions of dollars in damages.