We’ve talked before about the danger that could be posed on the road if drivers are unable to secure the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis. Reaction times are diminished considerably when adequate rest isn’t achieved, and judgment can also be compromised. Either of these things could contribute to an injurious or even deadly crash, so any drivers, commercial or otherwise, can protect themselves and others by acquiring sleep.
We bring this up because of a situation currently taking place in Los Angeles. The city may be forced to pay $26 million to the drivers of garbage trucks for the city. This is because of a policy that the drivers and their attorneys claim was an infringement of their rights.
The policy essentially banned naps during break times. In addition, groups of drivers were not allowed to go to lunch at the same place at the same time. These policies were enacted over fears about public perception, but as courts have thus far ruled, the limits extended beyond what was fair. By enacting rules that covered time that should have been outside the bounds of the job, Los Angeles effectively placed controls on that time, and the thinking is that all those drivers should be paid for those lunch breaks because of that.
The attorney for the drivers noted the safety issues that might crop up if a driver is prohibited from securing rest if they needed it.