Owners and Operators

Driver Fatigue Is Everyone's Business – Employers Included

Heavy vehicle drivers are not the only ones responsible for managing their fatigue. The decisions made by the various parties involved in the freight and passenger transportation industry can cause fatigue among heavy vehicle drivers.

Driver fatigue, in brief

Fatigue leads to a gradual decline of physical and mental alertness that can result in drowsiness or sleepiness.

Fatigue impairs our faculties, and we often do not even realize it. Just like alcohol, accumulated fatigue reduces our ability to concentrate, affects our judgment and reflexes, and thus our ability to drive.

Although all drivers are subject to fatigue at the wheel, heavy vehicle drivers are especially prone to this problem, in particular due to:

  • long work hours
  • irregular schedules
  • night shifts
  • the long distances covered

Did you know?

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of death on our roads, along with alcohol, speed and distraction.

Operators, owners and employers: you also have a part to play

You cannot rely solely on legislation governing driving and off-duty time to prevent driver fatigue-related accidents.

Heavy vehicle drivers are not the only ones responsible for managing their fatigue. Fatigue can be caused by the decisions and actions of the various parties within the freight and passenger transportation industry.

What can be done to prevent driver fatigue?

As an employer, you can adopt various measures to prevent driver fatigue, such as by:

  • making safety and fatigue management core values of your company
  • making your drivers' health and quality of life a priority
  • providing training to drivers, dispatchers and schedule managers to address the issue of driver fatigue and make them aware of ways to prevent it
  • implementing "biocompatible" schedules that: 
    • better suit the internal biological clock
    • are as regular as possible
    • are predictable and maximize the driver's recuperation periods
    • take into account recent and upcoming work and rest periods
    • follow, if necessary, a clockwise rotating pattern (day-evening-night)
    • limit night shifts
  • carefully managing overtime
  • providing enough rest time between 2 work shifts:
    • most people require 7 to 9 uninterrupted hours of sleep every 24 hours, preferably at night
  • following up on any incident or accident with the driver involved

For more information

Consult the Driver Fatigue – Fatigue Management Guide (PDF, 1.0 Mo).

North American Fatigue Management Program

The goal of the North American Fatigue Management Program is to reduce driver fatigue, improve the quality of life of drivers, and lower the rate of accidents caused by fatigue and the related costs. The program is particulary intended for heavy vehicle drivers and their families, employers, shippers, dispatchers and carrier safety managers.

The main goals of the program are to understand fatigue and to convey the importance of proper sleep hygiene and a healthy lifestyle.

Last update: October  5, 2022