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More than 60% of truck drivers admit driving drowsy

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2024 | Commercial Truck Accidents

In commercial trucking, the issue of driving while drowsy poses a notable threat to both drivers and others on the road. The demanding schedules and long hours behind the wheel make truckers particularly susceptible to the dangers of fatigue.

Understanding how drowsiness affects driving ability is important for addressing this concern and safeguarding the highways from potential disasters.

How drowsiness affects driving ability

Drowsiness impairs a commercial truck driver’s ability to stay alert and react swiftly to changing road conditions. The prolonged hours on the road often lead to mental and physical exhaustion. As fatigue sets in, drivers experience a decline in their cognitive functions. This can make it hard to focus on the road, identify potential hazards and react promptly.

An alarming consequence of driving drowsy is the occurrence of microsleeps. These are brief episodes of sleep that last only a few seconds. These involuntary lapses in wakefulness can have catastrophic outcomes. During a microsleep, a driver loses awareness and control, putting others at immediate risk. Recognizing the signs of drowsiness and taking proactive measures to prevent microsleeps is important for enhancing road safety.

How to mitigate risks

To address the impact of driving drowsy, commercial truck drivers must prioritize adequate rest and adhere to regulated hours of service. Employers play a key role in fostering a culture that prioritizes driver well-being over unrealistic delivery schedules. Encouraging regular breaks and promoting healthy sleep habits are important steps in mitigating the risks associated with drowsy driving.

The Truck Safety Coalition reports that 65% of commercial truckers report sometimes driving drowsy. Almost 50% say they fell asleep at the wheel at some point during the past year. Recognizing the toll that fatigue takes on alertness and reaction time underscores the urgency for industry-wide efforts to address this issue.