Drowsiness is an issue that can affect any driver at any level of experience. After all, sleep deprivation or tiredness has nothing to do with how skilled a driver is, or even how used to driving without sleep they may feel like they are.
Truckers in particular often end up catching flack for falling asleep at the wheel or otherwise struggling with drowsiness. Why is this?
High rate of trucker drowsiness
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration takes a look at drowsiness among drivers. This phenomenon occurs when a driver gets behind the wheel without having enough sleep beforehand. It is a relatively common occurrence especially among working-age people or those attending college, due in part to the demands of a rigorous schedule and early wake-up times.
Truckers seemingly suffer from a high rate of drowsiness at work, though. Several factors may contribute to this, such as the high pressure to meet quotas even at personal risk. Truckers tend to make more money and have higher incentivization if they finish more work in a shorter amount of time. This can lead to truckers skipping out on valuable hours of sleep to try cramming as many miles into a day as possible.
In trucking, a dangerous culture also exists in which truckers seem to think they have “adjusted” to the demands of the job and can simply go longer than the average driver without resting. While this may not prove entirely false, it is certainly not as straightforward and true as people believe. The human body cannot get overpowered and a person cannot simply will themselves awake when tired.
These factors combine and result in truckers getting into a disproportionately high number of crashes due to drowsiness especially. It is just one of many reasons why drowsy driving proves such a problem.