Ban top bunk sleeper berth use while truck is in motion (even with safety harness).

Ban top bunk sleeper berth use while truck is in motion (even with safety harness).

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Jessica Noakes started this petition to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Imagine that your bed was only 2.5 feet across, barely big enough to side sleep with a shoddy 2.5-3 inch thick worn out mattress, and a frame with hard plastic edges that protrudes above the top of the matress preventing knees and elbows from extending past the edge. Now imagine that all night as you tried sleep your bed was shaken, often severely, side to side, head to foot, up and down, with periotic extreme bouncing. This happens throughout the night, for the majority of the night, every single night. Now imagine trying to focus and function properly at work with this being the only sleep available to you. Would you be able to keep this up for long before succumbing to fatigue and exhaustion? Now imagine your job is to safely drive and maneuver a 70 foot semi truck for 10+ hours a day on public roadways around other peoples' loved ones (children, parents, spouses, irreplaceable lives). This is the reality for thousands of truckers in training around the country every year. These aren't even the experienced veterans but the newbee trainees going through this ordeal!

Sleep, especially good sleep, is critically important for a trucker. Being well rested, alert, and engaged with one's surroudings and the task of driving a commercial motor vehicle are crucial for the safety of the driver but even more importantly the safety of the general motoring public and pedestrians around that driver. Approximately 20% of all semi truck accidents involving a fatality are the result of truck driver fatigue.

Currently it is not legal to use the top bunk while the truck is in motion *if* that bunk does not have a safety harness, a net like device that goes over the bunk preventing the sleeper from being thrown out of the bunk when brakes are suddenly applied. No one can force you to use such a bunk if it has no safety harness. Historically in a trainer truck like this the top bunk is only used when the truck is not moving, otherwise the bottom bunk is shared by both trainer and trainee. Its not at the same time. The pillows and blanks are just switched out between shifts. Often the trainee will use two blankets, one to sleep on, one to sleep under.

But things are changing. More and more newer condo truck cabs (the ones with two bunks) are being designed with safety harnesses on both the main bottom bunk and the secondary top bunk. This allows trainers (and complicit companies) to force trainees to 'sleep' on the top bunk while the truck is in motion.

The cab of the truck is hinged such that it moved up and down when the truck goes over a bump. It can also rock back and forth going over uneven road. Due to lever action the top of the cab moves more extremely and more violently than the base of the cab. To see this just wiggle a pen around in your fingers. The tip moves a significantly greater distance than the part next to your fingers. This means someone in the top bunk gets shaken, bounced, and jolted much more violently than someone in the bottom bunk. Bruises are not uncommon. The bottom bunk has a mattress at least 3 feet across and 5 inches thick, sometimes thicker. This thicker matress helps dampen the effects of the shaking and bouncing and cushions the more extreme blows. The result is that sleep is possible. It might not be the best sleep but its real sleep. Only the deepest sleepers could achieve anything close to this on the grossly inadequate top bunk mattress while the truck is in motion. 

Proper sleep saves lives!

Sign this petition asking the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to close the safety harness loophole, stop companies and trainers from forcing new drivers to deal with such extreme conditions in order to pass training and obtain full employment, and outlaw the use of the top bunk while the truck is in motion, period!

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