Module 6 of the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP) includes three lessons designed to make shippers, brokers and receivers aware of fatigue concerns and implement safe practices related to fatigue management.
Lesson 1: Shippers and brokers may be sued and questioned about loading practices, driver treatment, routing practices and other actions. The Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are a countermeasure to fatigue. There is a huge shortage of parking available to truck drivers. A 2003 study found availability of truck parking was one-half of demand.
Lesson 2: Limited access to parking and restrooms and lounges can force drivers to park on the shoulder of the road and other undesirable locations. Schedule pressure set by shipper, broker or receiver and can give incentive to the driver to speed, violate HOS and drive while fatigued. A 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that 68% of drivers had been detained more than 2 hours (some more than 8 hours!) while waiting for loading and unloading. 80% of these drivers said it affected their HOS compliance. This may be due to inadequate warehouse space, slow service, product not really ready to be shipped or actually using the waiting truck trailers and supplemental warehouse space.
Lesson 3: Voluntary guidelines called “Code of Ethics” established by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and National Industrial Transport League (NITL) with 29 shipper/receiver and 25 carrier/driver guidelines (see Form § 7:19). It includes establishing reasonable transit time requirements so drivers can comply with HOS and speed limits. It also has a guideline to provide for prompt loading/unloading of trucks and providing drivers restrooms, water and other facilities.
We can look to Australia which has included in the Chain of Responsibility drivers, shippers, consignors, loaders, weighbridge operators, equipment vendors and third-party auditors. All who bear responsibility for conduct which affects compliance should be made accountable for failure to discharge that responsibility.
Shippers, brokers and receivers should strive to set realistic trip schedules, reduce loading and unloading delays, and assign waiting drivers time slots so that they can have uninterrupted sleep or naps in their sleeper berth. Detention fees for waiting more than 2 hours are becoming an industry standard. Receivers should consider allowing off-hour parking access to yards.