Trucker troubles sharing the road - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Trucker troubles sharing the road

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FARGO, N.D. -- Valley New Live discovered what safety precautions local truckers take to make sure you're safe on the roads.

"If you're driving a truck and you're hauling 80 thousand pounds, which is the latest 16 of your cars and you fall asleep, people are going to get hurt," said trucker Craig McManus.

Traveling over three million miles, McManus has made a lifetime career of driving big rigs. Safety is always a top concern.

"I actually just had a trailer inspection done so that my tires and breaks are safe," said McManus.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol tells me truckers have to obey the 11-14 hour rule. A driver can only be behind the wheel for 11 consecutive hours in a 14 hour window. Then, that truck's got to be parked. And, for every eight hours hitting the tar, a 30 minute break is required.

Lack of sleep is a major factor, it's what caused the trucking accident that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another man nearly a week ago. The cab driver hadn't slept in 24 hours.

"It still happens," rig driver Jim Ryan told Valley News Live. "Until they put shutoffs on each trucks to where it's controlled by somebody other than the driver themselves, you're going to have guys that will push the law."

It's mandatory that drivers log their hours. State patrol can pull over and inspect a vehicle and log book at any given time. Most trucks now come equip with electronic systems. Some companies still utilize paper logs, that's when cheating can occur.

"Yea, they'll run you," said McManus. "They don't care if you got any sleep. It's  all about the money."

These days drivers have no excuse to be tired while on the road. Most cabs come with a bed, a refrigerator and a microwave. Some even have a full kitchen, bathroom and running water hookup.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said there's no way to monitor hours that truckers drive on the road through highway video camera systems because there isn't enough manpower. But, they have increased enforcement and random spot inspections.
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