Truck drivers experience nearly 17% of transportation-related fatalities

The long hours and demanding nature of driving a truck can make it a hazardous occupation; fatigue is one of the main occupational hazards commercial drivers face. A new publication available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides truck drivers with tips for improving sleep quality to improve their health and help reduce the risk for drowsy driving and vehicle crashes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 truck drivers experienced 16.8% of all transportation-related fatalities and 2.04% of the nonfatal injuries requiring days away from work, even though they only made up 1.0% of the U.S. workforce.

"Sleep plays a critical role in our personal well-being; [driving] for long periods without getting adequate sleep may place truck drivers at higher risk for vehicle crashes, as well as create other health concerns," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "This new resource provides easy to implement solutions that will help truck drivers stay safe and well while on the job and continue their good work."

In a 2010 study, NIOSH researchers found that U.S. long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely to be obese compared to the adult working population, as well as more likely to suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease.

The new publication, Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers, outlines the importance of sleep for truck drivers and what they can do to ensure they get a good night's sleep while on the road and at home. The brochure provides tips and recommendations for:

  • Improving the sleep environment
  • Preparing for better sleep
  • What to avoid before bedtime

For more information and strategies for managing sleep, visit the NIOSH Work Schedules topic page.