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Why is drowsy driving so risky in the trucking industry?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2020 | Truck Accidents |

Georgia drivers deserve to have a safe experience on the road. Drivers all work toward keeping themselves and others safe. However, there are some situations in which unsafe driving occurs.

Drowsy driving is one such example. It is widespread in the common population and even more common in the trucking industry. Unfortunately, this can make for a deadly combination.

Statistics related to drowsy driving

The Sleep Foundation discusses the statistics of drowsy driving. The American Automobile Association attributes 16.5 percent of annual deadly crashes to drowsy driving. Of the crashes requiring hospitalization, they attribute 12.5 percent. In other words, 1 in 6 deadly crashes can trace back to a driver who was drowsy.

For truckers, it is even deadlier. The National Transportation Safety Board says “for each truck driver fatality, another three to four people are killed”. Why is that? Part of the reason is the sheer size and weight of a truck. Many 18-wheelers weigh an average of 40 tons and can range to over 48 feet in length. They easily dwarf other cars on the road and can take out entire lanes of a highway when involved in a wreck.

Sleep deprivation in the trucking industry

The industry also has a big issue with sleep deprivation. In a study of 80 truckers across Canada and the United States, the average amount of sleep a night was less than five hours. Studies show that drivers need between 7 and 8 hours to function effectively behind the wheel. When driving drowsy, you may suffer from effects that mirror the impact of alcohol. In other words, drowsy driving affects drivers like substance use. It can result in devastating consequences.