We all know drunk driving is criminally irresponsible. But did you know drowsy drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers?
According to AAA, drivers who have slept fewer than five hours have the same crash risk as a drunk driver. Unfortunately, many drivers underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving.
- The National Safety Council (NSC) reports drowsy driving is a factor in 20% of fatal crashes but notes the true number is likely higher.
- The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports up to 20% of serious car crashes are caused by drowsy driving (no alcohol involved)
Those most likely to drive drowsy include:
- Commercial drivers
- Shift workers, especially those who drive at night
- People who work long shifts
The problem is so bad, the NSC runs a drowsy driving prevention campaign every November.
How Fleets Can Prevent Drowsy Driving
Unfortunately, knowing about the importance of a good night’s rest isn’t enough to fix the problem. A survey by The National Sleep Foundation revealed 40% of people admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once during their driving career.
As a transportation industry professional, you can help reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal crashes caused by drowsy driving. Whether you manage a commercial fleet, oversee a mobile sales force or supervise delivery drivers, here are a few steps you can take:
- Train drivers to recognize the signs of fatigue including: yawning, delayed reaction time and involuntary microsleeps
- Spell out what drivers should do when they feel sleepy: contact dispatch, pull over and rest, etc.
- Ensure truck drivers know how to manage fatigue in addition to understanding DOT hours of service rules
Fatigue Management Training for Truck Drivers
SambaSafety offers convenient online training that teaches drivers how to prevent sleep deprivation, manage fatigue and improve their night driving skills. Each course takes 10 minutes (on average), and drivers can complete their training on a laptop or mobile device. Use our list of recommended courses below, or ask your client services rep to help you create a custom driver safety training program tailored to your fleet.
Recognizing the early symptoms of fatigue is critical to crash prevention. This lesson reviews how fatigue impacts performance, strategies to manage and combat fatigue, how to use sleep cycles to their best effect and a basic explanation of the Federal regulations regarding driving when fatigued.
Fatigue Management – A Guide for Families
This lesson covers various topics related to fatigue and how a driver’s family can assist them in reducing or eliminating fatigue.
Hours of Service
When operating a commercial vehicle, there are limits to how many hours a driver can be on duty per day, and also per week. There are also a minimum number of off-duty hours that must be logged. This lesson covers the four duty statuses and how drivers should record their time for each status. It also explains:
HOS violations are the most common out-of-service violation category for truck drivers because of both the risk and the sheer complexity of the rules. This course helps drivers understand:
- How to record working hours
- How to manage daily and weekly on-duty limits
- How to manage fatigue and out of service penalties
- Sleeper berth exceptions and split sleeper berth time
- Mandatory off duty time between shifts (no sleeper)
Many drivers make deliveries at night when there is less traffic and fewer cars in parking lots. Unfortunately, crashes happen three times more often at night. This lesson includes real-world night driving tips including:
- How to prepare your vehicle for night driving
- How to use your lights
- How to manage fatigue and drowsiness
- Using your vision at night
- How to maximize your skills at night
In a profession like trucking, lack of sleep can make a hazardous job even more dangerous. Especially if the driver has sleep apnea. Knowing the symptoms of sleep apnea and options for treatment can help drivers get the sleep they need and keep everyone safe on the road. This lesson educates drivers about sleep apnea, its signs and symptoms, the toll it can take on someone, and treatment plans for living with sleep apnea.
Operating a commercial vehicle safely comes with many responsibilities – including maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This lesson explains the connection between healthy lifestyle choices and driver performance. The lesson also reviews:
- The effects of stress and how to manage it
- An introduction to diet and exercise
- How to manage alcohol consumption and abuse
An effective driver training program can quickly pay for itself by minimizing expensive incidents and liability risk. If you’re in the market for a turnkey training solution, click the image below for a helpful guide to choosing the right driver training program for your needs and budget.
If you enjoyed this article, we recommend the following:
DEBUNKED: The Most Common Myth About Sleep Deprivation and Driver Fatigue
Night Driving Tips to Keep Your Fleet Safe This Winter