What causes truck crashes? Sleep Deprivation

Our economy relies on the estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States. It’s a huge factor in how we get the items we need in our daily lives. Many truck drivers spend a large part of their lives behind the wheel. They live in their trucks, eat in their trucks, and, most importantly, sleep in their trucks.

The real question is, are they getting enough sleep in their trucks? We’ve all gone without sleep. It can be shocking to see how quickly our brains fall behind when we aren’t well rested. Could it also be causing accidents?

Drowsy Driving

Before doing a bit of research for this article, I had no idea how much of a problem a lack of sleep is causing on our roads. There are so many studies and reports that have been conducted on sleep deprivation and driving, and none of them look good. Driving while drowsy is a huge problem on our roads and thousands die every year as a result. Just how big a problem is it really?

According to the CDC:

  • 1 in 25 adults report having fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days
  • Drowsy driving caused an estimated 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013 (the deaths caused may be as high as an estimated 6,000 in 2013, the 800 number is incredibly conservative)

I still can’t believe that that many people have fallen asleep behind the wheel just in the last month. That really changes how I look at the other drivers around me.

Drowsy driving takes lives every year - Brooks Law Group

Who is most likely to be drowsy behind the wheel?

  • Commercial, long haul truck drivers
  • Shift workers
  • Drivers with sleeping disorders
  • Drivers under the influence of alcohol or other medications

Long Haul and a Lack of Sleep

What does this mean for truck drivers? We know now how much of a problem drowsy driving is. We also know that commercial truck drivers are some of the most likely motorists to fall victim. How is it affecting the drivers?

According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology and Information (NCBI), the sleep patterns of 80 male truck drivers revealed the following:

  • Drivers reported 7 hours of sleep per day was needed
  • Drivers averaged less than 5 hours of sleep per day
  • Of the 80 drivers, two fell asleep behind the wheel at least once during the study
  • 56% of the drivers had periods of drowsiness behind the wheel

The results from this study are frightening. Truck drivers are getting much less sleep than they need, and we’ve already seen what happens when a driver gets drowsy. Even in a controlled study, two truck drivers were observed to fall asleep while driving.

Driving requires our full attention, and tragedy happens when we drive impaired. Sleep deprived driving is impaired driving. Our nation’s truck drivers are not getting nearly enough sleep, and people are losing their lives consequently. It’s not worth getting a package a day or two early if it means the roads are even a fraction less safe.

Contact Brooks Law Group

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash, call our offices today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff are trained and experienced. They’ll provide the client experience you expect while working to secure the compensation you deserve. If we aren’t able to recover money for your case, you won’t owe us anything. You can visit our website to request a free case evaluation, or you can call our offices at (800) LAW-3030.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.