There isn’t one straightforward cause for sleepy truck drivers—and often truckers are tired behind the wheel for multiple reasons. Here are a few common issues:
- Truckers are on the road at odd hours. The vast majority of fatigue-related traffic accidents happen late at night or in the early morning when the body naturally becomes tired. Many commercial truckers choose to drive during these hours to avoid traffic or make deadlines.
- Truckers face long hours behind the wheel. Even with strict federal regulations regarding trucker hours, commercial drivers can still be on the road for long stretches at a time without breaks and without much stimulation. The result is sleepy drivers.
- Some roads lack rest stops and trucker resources. During a long haul, a trucker might hit stretches of many miles without a safe and legal place to stop the truck and take a rest. Recent studies have shown that more truck stops would mean fewer fatigue-related truck accidents.
- Truck companies set unrealistic goals for truckers. Trucking is a business, and trucking companies make more money if they deliver goods faster. The result is that truckers are often faced with tight deadlines, short turnaround times, and tough expectations. In some cases, trucking companies force truckers to bend the rules to get deliveries made on time.
- Truckers are lying in their logbooks. Just because federal regulations are in place to prevent tired truckers from putting others in danger on the roads doesn’t mean that truckers and trucking companies follow these rules. Currently, it is far too easy to lie in a log book about how long you have driven and whether you are driving for too many hours in one stretch.
- Truckers are paid by the mile. Many jobs pay according to how many hours you have been working, but commercial truck drivers are often paid by how many miles they cover. This system often encourages truckers to drive at odd hours and to drive tired.
- There’s no guarantee a trucker has slept. Even though there are trucking regulations that prevent truckers from driving too many consecutive hours, truckers could be tired from activities other than hauling a trailer. Many truckers also help loading or unloading the vehicle or are involved with the truck’s inspections. On their time away from the job, truckers could possibly be up all night instead of resting.