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Truck drivers, instructors remind drivers to take a break if tired while driving

Posted at 11:11 PM, Dec 03, 2021

MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) — Driving instructors and truckers are sending out a reminder to take a break when you need one while on the road.

The reminder comes after Thursday's I-10 semi-truck crash that was caused by the driver falling asleep behind the wheel, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Most of the truck drivers ABC 27 spoke to at the Pilot Truck Stop in Midway were taking their federally mandated breaks — after working as hard as those guys do — those 10-hour breaks are needed for safe driving.

Truck driver Brandon Booker hauls goods for companies like Walmart, FedEx and Amazon.

"Driving safe, being safe all the time," said Booker. "If you feel sleepy, no matter what the deadline is on the load or anything like that, pull over and find somewhere safe to park, get yourself a couple of hours of sleep."

Driving shipments across the country, Booker knows how tiring the job can get.

"When that 14 hours starts, it doesn't stop," explained Booker. "Within that 14 hours, you have 11 hours of drive time."

Booker added that he knows the importance of resting when tired.

The truck driver, according to the FHP report from Thursday's crash, hit another semi-parked on the shoulder.

According to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, driver fatigue is responsible for around 13% of large truck crashes every year.

Tallahassee Community College's Jessica Griffin who oversees the college's Commerical Driver's License training instructors told ABC 27 that the long driving hours aren't the only thing that can fatigue drivers.

"It does require a lot of very physical skills or activities," said Griffin. "Some drivers might just have to go back up to the dock, drop off a load and keep it moving. But you do have others that are responsible for actually unloading their product."

And for the drivers of Thursday's crash, one was taken to the hospital with serious injuries while the other was unharmed.