Have you ever come close to falling asleep at the wheel? It feels scary, but imagine doing that while driving a truck. Trucks are some of the most lethal vehicles on New Jersey roads, even when the people operating them are fully awake. Yet, thanks to their job’s nature, truckers are among the most likely workers to be dozing while working.
According to a report by the National Safety Council (NSC), 43% of workers are sleep-deprived. Those most likely to be suffering from lack of sleep are people who work nights or irregular shifts. While their report does not divide people by the jobs they do, it is likely many truck drivers fall into this 43%. What is worse, they found fatigued drivers were three times more likely to crash than well-rested drivers.
Our bodies function best when they have set rhythms to abide by. Before the invention of electric lighting, most people got up with the sun and went to sleep shortly after it got dark. They ate at set times, worked regular hours each day, and got a good eight hours or more of sleep every day.
Think about a truck driver. They eat when they get a chance, their hours vary wildly from day to day, and they often have to grab sleep in chunks of less than eight hours. There is no pattern to the shifts many truckers work, so their bodies never benefit from the natural rhythms they need.
So, next time you are out on New Jersey’s highways, give truckers a wide berth. You never know when they last slept, or how well they slept. They may well be hanging in there fuelled by coffee and energy drinks, in which case their decision making and concentration will be far from optimal. It only takes a second for an 18 wheeler to drift across your lane and send you off the road. If a fatigued trucker crashes into you, seek legal help.