Ball State University conducted a study involving more than 150,000 working adults in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. In 2010, 30.9% of these responded that they experienced inadequate sleep: that is, less than seven hours of sleep a day. In 2018, that percentage rose to 35.6%. Researchers were able to find out what professions had been most impacted by sleep deprivation, and trucking is in the worst four.
The most sleep-deprived working adults were in the military and police with 50% of respondents with this background reporting poor sleep; others included those in the healthcare industry at 45%, the transportation and material moving industry at 41% and production at 41%. One common thread that runs through these professions is the frequent reliance on 24-hour shift work.
Researchers found that men and older adults saw a higher increase in sleep deprivation between 2010 and 2018 than women or younger adults did. It makes sense that truckers, who are mostly older men, were part of the trend. However, the study did not specify how many of the respondents were long-haul truck drivers.
Several factors can be said to contribute to this trend. One is longer work hours, and another is the rise in work-related stress. Additionally, more people are staying up late using electronic devices, which cuts into their time for sleep.
In the trucking industry, the most sleep-deprived drivers are usually the ones who ignore the hours-of-service regulations and don’t take the rest breaks that federal law requires them to take. This makes their drowsy driving a form of negligence. When negligence leads to truck accidents, victims who are not to blame may file a claim against the trucking company. With a lawyer, they may be able to strengthen their case with evidence like work logs, in-cab camera footage and the police report.