Aug 30, 2011
A recent study showed that nearly 5% of drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once within the last month. This number is just a part of the National Sleep Foundation’s findings that more than a third of all adult drivers had fallen asleep at the wheel within the previous year.
Falling asleep at the wheel is a major cause of accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 automobile accidents occur every year as a direct result of fatigued driving. Such accidents lead to approximately 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses every year. Research has shown that the level of impairment associated with 24 hours without sleep is comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent, over the legal limit in all states.
With fleet drivers sometimes making long trips under tight deadlines, drowsy driving is a major occupational hazard. Many drivers think that they can get through exhaustion on the road with caffeinated drinks, loud music, or some other remedy, but the best thing to do is stop and rest. Build time into your drive for short rest breaks if you have not gotten enough sleep or have been driving for long periods of time. The Federal Motor Carrier Association recommends stopping every three hours to rest on long trips.
Keep your drivers well-rested and make sure they’re not taking on more than they can handle. It will keep them safe and keep you accident-free.
Photo courtesy of jose and re-used under the Creative Commons license.