Poll: Sleepiness affects trucker performance

| March 03, 2012

About 14 percent of truck drivers admit to a “near miss” due to sleepiness and 44 percent say they rarely get a good night’s sleep when on the job, according to a poll of transportation professionals conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.

Also, in the poll, 8 percent of truck drivers say they are sleepy while driving. Among the 203 truck drivers who took part in the poll, 27 percent contend their irregular schedules don’t give them adequate time to sleep. Truck drivers also reported they have an average 12.1 hours off between shift.

Most likely to report sleep-related job performance and safety problems are airline pilots and train operators. The NSF reported that 26 percent of pilots and 23 percent of train operators said sleepiness affected their job performance at least once a week.

 ”Transportation workers experience considerable variability in the days they work, the times they work, and the amount of time off between shifts,” said Patrick Sherry, Ph.D., a sleep researcher and professor from the University of Denver Intermodal Transportation Institute. “This makes it difficult for such workers to maintain regular sleep/wake schedules, which can, in turn, make it difficult for these workers to maintain alertness on the job. Employers should put more effort into designing work/rest schedules that facilitate sleep and minimize workers exposure to irregular, variable schedule changes.”

The poll was conducted using a sample of 1,087 adults above age 25.

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