The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled sleep deprivation as a public health epidemic.
Poor sleep quality and shortened sleeping hours have been common among Americans for quite some time now, and the health consequences have been communicated far and wide to diverse audiences. However, little has been done to address public safety due to fatigue. One serious consequence is that many people drive when overtired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 48% of drivers nod off between the driving hours of 9pm and 6am and that drowsy driving accounted for 803 fatalities in 2016. These are preventable crashes. These are preventable deaths. This is a public health issue.
Truck drivers are disproportionately blamed for crashes. Although this may not be warranted, commercial truck drivers do have a social responsibility since more than 90% of their work day is on a public roadway. This is what intrigued University of Minnesota alum, Sarah Moon, to find out more about commercial truck drivers’ relationship with sleep.