Are truck drivers passing through Louisiana getting enough sleep? According to Forbes, line haul drivers all across the United States are suffering from sleep deprivation. There have been a number of legislations proposed, including the 34-hour restart, but many have failed to grab hold and truck drivers and their employers often find ways around the others.
As a direct result of this, there are truck drivers on the road who are blacking out and nodding off. One former driver who racked up more than 2 million miles as a truck driver confessed to routinely nodding off or driving long stretches that he could not recall. This led to a lot of near misses, as well as driving off the road on some occasions. He was lucky not to injure anyone.
Rather than try to legislate how many hours drivers should be on the road, he recommends that there should be stricter laws ensuring truck drivers get enough sleep. Truck drivers should also pay close attention to the quality of sleep they receive. This may require adjusting their sleep schedule, or working with their families to ensure minimal disruption when they sleep during the day before taking a load.
CNN also chimed in on the issue of tired truck drivers after an accident that resulted in the death of one famous comedian and a two-week long coma for the other. Other passengers in the vehicle were also seriously injured. CNN noted that driver fatigue is responsible for 25% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. Yet, some experts claim that truck drivers are no less tired than other drivers, even counting the long-haul routes they often drive.
The main difference these experts point to is technology. Many vehicles come equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning and a collection of other tech tools that keep drivers safe. These safety features are rarely included on trucks, but this is slowly changing. Software developers are also working on apps to keep drivers awake and measure sleep deprivation.
Even so, the fact remains that truck drivers typically spend more time on the road than most other drivers. They also often work longer hours. For instance, the driver that slammed into the comedians’ vehicle had allegedly not slept for 28 hours. As many truck drivers may tell you, this is not uncommon. Legislations limiting driving time and apps to keep drivers awake are steps in the right direction, but at the core of it all is the fact that truck drivers may just need more and better sleep.