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Sleep deprivation can be as bad as drunk driving for truckers

by | May 14, 2021 | 18-Wheeler Accidents |

If you drive a truck for a living, you know how much pressure the industry puts on truckers to deliver loads on time. This kind of pressure can tempt drivers to drive longer shifts than they should and get less sleep than they should. But too much sleep deprivation can lead to the same deadly consequences as drunk driving for truck drivers.

Drowsy driving can be deadly

There have been several scientific studies that measure the number of hours of sleep that truck drivers get on average, and its effect on car accidents involving trucks. The general consensus is that most truck drivers don’t get an amount of sleep that is necessary to be alert on the job, and that accidents occur as a result.

Being drowsy while driving any type of vehicle is dangerous, both to the driver and to everyone who shares the road with them. When that vehicle is a truck, and it is filled with cargo that makes it heavier, the danger is compounded. An accident involving a truck is often many times more devastating than one involving two similarly sized cars.

Sometimes truckers can feel pressure from their company to meet certain deadlines or make up for delays. This can incentivize the trucker to drive much longer than is safe. After several hours of sleep deprivation, the level of impairment in the trucker’s reflexes and alertness can become equivalent to driving while under the influence of intoxicating substances.

Federally mandated breaks

The federal government recognized the danger of drowsy driving by truckers and has established regulations to fight it. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specific rules that govern how many hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel per shift.

For every 8 hours of driving, truck drivers must take a 30-minute break before continuing on their route. They must also take a 10-hour break after being on the road for 11 to 15 hours, depending on the type of truck they are driving.

Trucks are essential to our nation’s economy. But when truck drivers don’t get enough sleep, they create hazardous conditions on our roads that claim too many lives every year. If you drive a truck for a living, it is essential that you follow federally mandated guidelines for getting enough rest and taking enough breaks.