In early 2015 a truck driver from Etta, Mississippi was found dead in his truck from what authorities have ruled as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. 44 year old Wayne Azlin was found unconscious in his rig at an Arkansas weigh station after his father reported him missing to the authorities.
In what has become an all too common problem, carbon monoxide entered the cab of the sleeping driver. While authorities have not commented on why this happened, there are several cases each year of drivers passing away due to improper ventilation of carbon monoxide from portable generators being ran to comply with anti-idle laws and to cut fuel costs.
In the wake of this tragic loss, should drivers and fleet managers reconsider using portable generators on their rigs?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission determined that portable generators are the leading cause of carbon monoxide poisoning among engine-driven tools in the U.S. Based on the data, it becomes clear that generators and exhausted drivers are not a safe combination.
Unlike portable generators, auxiliary power units are designed to pipe exhaust gases safely away from the driver and truck cab. Many concerned family members have slated cost as a motivator of fleets and drivers who opt for portable generators instead of APUs. This misconception is one that needs to be addressed and put to rest so that drivers are given a safe way to keep warm when idling.
Our condolences go out to the family of Mr. Azlin and to all of the families that have lost a loved one from this prevalent but preventable issue. To our fellow drivers, stay safe out there and if you are going to continue to use a portable generator, please take the time to makes sure it is properly vented.