OLYMPIA — In an attempt to reduce the number of fatigued commercial vehicle drivers on our roads, the Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division is in the midst of an enforcement emphasis focused on commercial vehicle driver’s hours of service. Officers will stop and cite drivers who exceed their maximum allowable time behind the wheel.
“This emphasis is designed to send a clear message to truck drivers that fatigue driving is a serious threat to highway safety and will not be tolerated,” said Washington State Patrol Assistant Chief Mike DePalma, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau.
The emphasis patrols will run through August 21. The State Patrol is partnering with Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia authoritie, sharing data and information to help verify the hours of service of drivers suspected of exceeding their time behind the wheel or altering their driver log books.
During the emphasis, Washington will open all truck scales throughout the state as staffing allows, and conduct roving patrols to inspect trucks and drivers who attempt to avoid the inspection sites by traveling on bypass routes.
“A fatigued driver at the wheel is just as serious and as dangerous as driving under the influence,” said DePalma. “The effects caused by a fatigued driver can be devastating.”
Although actual percentage estimates vary, it is widely acknowledged that driver fatigue is a factor in many commercial vehicle crashes. For this reason, federal regulations limit the number of both consecutive and cumulative hours a commercial vehicle driver may operate his or her vehicle without an off-duty rest period. Enforcement of these limits is essential to ensure compliance, combat driver fatigue, and assure our roadways remain safe for all motorists.
For information about the Hours of Service Regulations that all commercial vehicle drives must comply with, please go to http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm, or to WSP’s website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/cvd.htm.