Drowsy driving serves as a major issue for everyone on the road. However, truck drivers are not only particularly prone to drowsy driving, but it is also a more prominent issue for them than for average drivers.
Why is this the case? What causes truckers to face a higher rate of drowsiness, and why is it such a major risk?
How truck size relates to risk
The CDC discusses the issues associated with drowsy driving. Drowsy driving affects drivers in a way similar to intoxication. It will often slow one’s reflexes, lower their problem-solving capabilities and diminish their capacity for noticing and reacting to dangers.
The reason this is such a big issue with truckers is due to the size and weight of their vehicles. When an average driver dozes off at the wheel, they can still cause injury to other drivers. However, when a trucker dozes off, they can cause devastating crashes that can involve large numbers of cars at a time. Not only that, but the damage they can inflict is often extremely severe.
Problems within the trucking industry
It is difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for the increase in trucker drowsiness issues compared to other drivers. However, many sources indicate that the trucking industry itself is to blame, in no small part.
Essentially, truckers feel incentivized to skimp on getting enough sleep so they can push through their grueling, rigorous schedules faster. Many drivers get extra bonuses or other benefits if they finish their routes early. On top of that, the atmosphere of a trucking company tends to dissuade truckers from taking rests, as it may appear “weak” to their co-workers.
Unfortunately, these elements can drive a trucker to hit the road when exhausted, leading to the very real possibility of a severe or even fatal crash.