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Does the trucking industry worsen drowsy driving?

At this point, it is relatively common knowledge that driving while drowsy proves a huge danger to you and other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, this is not always enough to stop individuals from hitting the road while exhausted.

A big source of severe drowsy driving crashes come from truckers, too. In the search to find out why this is the case, some surprising information has come to light.

Why are drowsy truckers so risky?

The Sleep Foundation examines the impact of drowsiness on drivers. In particular, truckers often cause much higher rates of fatality when compared to other drivers. This is due in part to the size and weight of their vehicle. An average trailer truck weighs about 40 tons, or 80,000 pounds. On average, they are about 70 to 80 feet long, too. This means they take up a lot of space and outweigh any other vehicle sharing the road with them.

Drowsiness not combated in the industry

Unfortunately, signs also point to the possibility that the trucking industry does not help itself out when it comes to combating drowsy driving. The culture among drivers often treats drowsiness as a simple feature of the job, with many truckers going so far as to mock those who “need more sleep”.

On top of that, the industry itself sometimes rewards dangerous behavior through incentive programs. Companies make more money if more deliveries happen in a shorter amount of time, so they often offer bonuses based on mileage traveled or deliveries made in a certain period of time. This can encourage truckers to shave even more sleep off their schedule and hit the road when they are too tired to safely drive. This creates a problem for them and everyone they share the road with.