ABSTRACT Two decades of research has established a correlation between tiredness and fatigue, and traffic accident involving truck drivers. Regulations limiting the driving hours of truck drivers thus are necessary precautions. But compliance is a problem. The answer from authorities tend to be disciplinary measures, leading to protests or strikes among the drivers, and an uncooperative climate. This paper offers an insight into 16 truck drivers´ daily practices and strategies towards the European regulation 651, based on a longish ethnographical field study in a Danish haulage company. The results points to six reasons why the regulations might be violated. The first is that driving time is respected, but resting time is not, which in effect means that the drivers experience the restraining part of the regulation, but not the protection from exploration that it also contains. The second reason is that the regulation seems to be designed to long distance driving, and has some short-comings when applied to short distance drivers. The third reason is that the regulation deprives the drivers of means to control their tiredness. The fourth reason is that the regulation limits room for planning ahead generally, because a truck driver's work is unpredictable and independent, but the regulation is action-defining and inflexible. Thus the regulations provoke violations because they counteract with the reality of truck drivers´ work conditions. The fifth reason is that the regulation counteracts with a general independency ideal among truck drivers. The last reason is that the drivers and their employers share an interest in long work hours.
Working on Safety, 4.th International Conference: Prevention of Occupational Accident in a Changing Work Environment, Proceedings, 2008