A national safety group in Canada recently released statistics showing that truckers in Saskatchewan and Alberta are 70 to 100 percent more likely to work 70 or more hours a week and 50 to 80 percent more likely to die in a crash, compared to the national average.
Alberta and Saskatchewan did not implement the National Safety Code 60 hour weekly limit.
Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways (CRASH) is opposed to a government/industry proposal that would allow truckers in Ontario and other parts of Canada to drive up to 84 hours a week over extended weeks.
This compares to 60 hours in the United States and 56 in Europe.
"The evidence that longer weekly hours increase crash risk is clear. A panel of scientists has told Transport Canada that an 84 hours work week would be dangerous, particularly for truckers driving night shifts," said CRASH Executive Director Bob Evans. "Why are our governments proposing such a regressive labor and safety standard?"
According to Evans, approximately one out of five truckers in Alberta and Saskatchewan works 70 or more hours a week.
Some truckers in other provinces are also working too many hours because of poor implementation and enforcement of the National Safety Code, which limits truckers to no more than 60 hours a week on average.
The safety group also referred to recently released research prepared for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety by the University of North Carolina that found people working 60 or more hours a week are 60 percent more likely to have a sleep-related crash and 20 percent more likely to have a fatigue-related crash.
"Any changes to update trucker hours of work rules must put public safety before trucking industry profit. The rule proposed by government officials ignores scientific recommendations to limit weekly hours to no more than 60 and to implement special measures to deal with the problems of night drivers," said Evans.