Christmas is just around the corner. And it won’t be long now before that portly man in a red suit tries to squeeze himself down your chimney … if you have one, that is.
At Pink Bins, we take safety very seriously. So, it was disturbing to hear in the news of a Waikato truck driver who drove for 27 hours straight without taking a break. He was appealing his conviction; thankfully, his appeal was rejected.
This is what he was found guilty of:
- Exceeding the 13-hour work limit
- Failing to have 10 hours rest in a work day
- Making false statements in a logbook
- Exceeding five-and-a-half hours of continuous work time.
You may think this driver didn’t do much wrong. Isn’t he just a good old Kiwi battler working hard to make a living? Well, maybe he is, but he was putting himself and others at risk. When you travel on the roads with your family this Christmas, do you really want to be sharing the road with someone like him? We don’t think so. Not surprisingly, the trucking company he worked for (which is now in liquidation) was responsible for a number of fatigue-related road accidents.
The effects of fatigue
Fatigue is something we are mindful of. The NZTA requires drivers to take a break every five hours, and we make sure our drivers adhere to this.
Everyone needs rest to function at their best. In the waste industry in particular, drivers need to be alert for problem solving and when swapping bins in difficult locations.
It is thought that fatigue is behind around 12% of road accidents in New Zealand. You see, when we’re tired, our ability to react is affected. So, a driver may struggle to stay in their lane or react to oncoming traffic — a scary prospect if you are the “oncoming traffic.” Heavy trucks (despite travelling only 6% of the total distance travelled by vehicles on New Zealand roads) are responsible for 15 – 19% of road deaths.
Cheating the industry
Apart from the safety concerns, blatantly exceeding your driving hours is cheating others in the industry, plain and simple. It’s like Lance Armstrong competing in the Tour de France while pumped up with drugs; the clean athletes didn’t stand a chance. So, drivers who break the rules harm the industry by under bidding on jobs and driving down freight rates.