Tired Truckers: A Growing Problem

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As the deadly crash that seriously injured actor/comedian Tracy Morgan continues to make national headlines, local truck drivers are speaking out about their duty to stay safe while on the road.

This comes as it's revealed the truck driver who triggered that crash hadn't slept in more than 24 hours.

Dave Johnson knows a thing or two about the trucking industry.

He says, "I've had a CDL since I was 18 years old."

As former safety officer for the City of Bryan... and current safety director for TDT Trucking, he's pretty much done it all.

"You name it, I've operated it. I've even driven tractor trailer rigs."

That is why he's so passionate about staying safe while on the road.

Johnson says, "You've got to be alert. It takes 100% of your concentration just to drive a 3,000 pound vehicle, and we're doing trucks that weigh anywhere from 20,000 pounds to 70,000 pounds."

The US government is very passionate about it as well. In fact, just last year new rules took effect limiting truck drivers to a maximum 70 hour work week.

They also said drivers could not start a new work week until they've had 34 hours of rest that included at least two nights of sleep between the hours of 1 and 5 am.

But then last week, a Senate committee voted to ease some of those rules, arguing that they force truckers to drive during daylight hours.= only.

No matter how strict or how relaxed the government regulations are, Johnson says, in the end, when they're out here on the roads, it all comes down the the drivers themselves, and they have to take full responsibility.

"Government can't do everything. big brother is not here to help everybody."

The truck drivers we met in Bryan agree, saying everything is up to them.

Miguel Velez says, "It's safety for everybody. we're driving these big old trucks. if you get tired, the best thing to do is pull over. They say after 11 hours it's like driving drunk."

Shannon Williams is on the same page as Valez. "It's all on the driver. It's up to us to know your dos and your donts, your wheres and your wherabouts."

Nearly four thousand people die in large truck crashes every year... the main cause of those - tired truckers.

Johnson says that's simply unacceptable. "What they're doing is they're gambling their lives against everybody else's life."