Trucker Fatigue

November 4, 2019

A new study reveals that truckers were among those professions with the highest levels of poor sleep in 2018. Commercial truck drivers are often fatigued from long commutes, extended work hours, strenuous work activities, lack of adequate sleep, and whole-body vibrations from driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver fatigue causes thousands of accidents each year, many of which involve those in the transport and material moving professions.

Inadequate Sleep Leads to Accidents

Adequate sleep is essential for good health and optimal brain function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults obtain at least seven hours of sleep per night. However, according to the CDC, nearly a third of all U.S. workers receive less than the recommended amount of sleep.

Drivers may be fatigued due to lack of sleep, untreated sleep apnea, or sleep-inducing medications. Regardless of the reason for drowsiness, driving while fatigued impairs drivers’ ability to pay attention to the road, react quickly, and make good decisions. This risky behavior can lead to serious accidents. Drowsy driving killed 795 people in 2017, according to the NHTSA.

Truck Drivers At-Risk for Drowsy Driving

Truckers are at risk for drowsy driving accidents due to the nature of their job; they often drive for long periods of time, through the night, and on tight deadlines. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 56,422 large trucks were involved in injury crashes and 4,657 were involved in fatal crashes in 2017.

Study Reveals Professions with Highest Levels of Poor Sleep

The new study published in the Journal of Community Health reveals that workers in certain professions suffered from the highest levels of poor sleep in 2018. Researchers studied data from more than 150,000 working adults between 2010 to 2018 and found that more workers were not getting enough sleep each year. According to the study:

  • Thirty-one percent reported obtaining less than seven hours of sleep per night in 2010
  • In 2018, 35.6 percent reported obtaining less than seven hours of sleep per night

The four professions with the highest levels of inadequate sleep included:

  • Police and military: 50 percent
  • Health care support: 45 percent
  • Transport and material moving: 41 percent
  • Production occupations: 41 percent

Employers Urged to Help

The study’s authors urge employers to be aware of the link between sleep deprivation and chronic disease to help address the problem. They suggest that employers educate drivers on the hazards of drowsy driving, provide employee training, and not pressure truckers to drive while fatigued. The National Safety Council (NSC) also recommends that employers optimize workers’ schedules, adopt a culture that promotes sleep health, and implement off-the-job safety and health programs.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Truck Drivers Obtain Benefits for Their Injuries

If you were injured in a truck accident, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including payment for medical expenses associated with your injury and lost wages. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.

Located in PhiladelphiaBensalemLansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum LynneDarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssingtonFolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztownLansdowneMediaMerion StationMortonNarberthNorristownNorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect ParkQuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper DarbyWest Chester, and Wynnewood.

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