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Fatigued Truck Drivers: A Clear and Present Danger
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Hard-working, long-haul truck drivers are invaluable in bringing goods and services from coast to coast. However, with that hard work often comes fatigue that sees far too many operators sacrificing sleep to reach their destinations.

Potentially tragic trends

Surveys put the number of workers getting less than seven hours of sleep per day is considered the recommended minimum. Yet, countless truck drivers operate vehicles severely fatigued due to the following:

  • Staying awake for an excessive number of consecutive hours
  • Lack of sleep over multiple days
  • Tasks considered monotonous
  • Significant periods of inactivity
  • Sleep disorders or medications making drivers drowsy

The role of employers and workers

Solutions exist to these problems, with employers taking proactive steps to curb their truck drivers’ drowsy operation of large vehicles:

  • Establishing enforceable policies that establish overtime limits and set maximums for consecutive shifts while maintaining sufficient staffing levels
  • Educating employees via training on healthy sleep and managing fatigue
  • Launching workplace sleep disorder screenings and ways to manage those suffering from them
  • Encouraging peers accompanying drivers to monitor symptoms of severe drowsiness
  • Mandating wearables to monitor and document fatigue

Workers can also find ways to prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving:

  • Getting proper rest seven to nine hours a day
  • Planning outside activities to ensure adequate time for sleep
  • Ensuring that a bedroom is conducive to sleep
  • Should fatigue set in, take a break that could include consuming caffeinated drinks or taking a quick 15 to 30-minute “cat nap”

Making team-oriented efforts can keep truck drivers safe and vehicle occupants who share the road with them. Proactive steps are of paramount importance, particularly when the stakes are high, which could result in injuries or fatalities.