Driving a truck can be lonely, and at times stressful, especially for drivers who have routes that take them away from home for weeks or even months at a time. For over the road and long haul drivers, the truck cab becomes a kind of home, a small space filled with a bed, make shift kitchen, and touching mementos of home. Vice.com recently published a photo series showcasing the lives of truck drivers with displays of their in-cab sleeper berths that include keepsakes from their homes, such as a picture colored by a drivers’ granddaughter, photos of loved ones, and religious items adorning the walls. Some drivers only really need to leave the truck for restroom breaks, to buy groceries, or eat out at a restaurant. But living in the small, cramped, and sometimes isolated, in-cab space can take its toll over time.
Truckers must cope with the physical challenges of their job that involves being on the road for long periods of time and maintaining a seated position for their work day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed the high rates of obesity among long-haul truck drivers and all of the added health issues associated with the disease.
It is no surprise that annual driver turnover for some carriers is approaching 100%. In addition to challenging health, work, and travel conditions, drivers experience concerns over pay scales, benefits, and work-related stress.
Carriers can do several things to make their drivers’ jobs easier and more rewarding. Beginning with salary, carriers can improve their competitive advantage either by increasing base pay or by offering financial incentives for safe and efficient driving. Just as important, carriers can use available technology to address the specific stressors that bother truckers on the road. For example, GPS navigation and routing helps drivers stay on route and even avoid traffic congestion. Telematics systems improve communication with dispatch and lets drivers call ahead if they have to stop somewhere due to weather or unsafe road conditions.
Perhaps most importantly, carriers can ensure that drivers get the rest they need and that their schedules give them as much home time as possible. Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations are designed specifically to protect drivers from over-work and fatigued driving. HOS solutions within telematics services ensure that drivers remain compliant and well-rested.
Better working conditions will certainly help improve the quality of life for drivers while they are on the road. And with an integrated HOS solution in the trucks’ telematics system, drivers can work a healthy schedule that can prevent fatigued and dangerous driving. By utilizing a telematics system, overall improved communication, route efficiency, safe driving behavior, and HOS compliance translates to a healthier support system for a drivers’ career and personal life.