Truck drivers already have one of the most dangerous jobs in America – they spend long hours on the road, driving heavy equipment at high speeds across highways, and then assist with loading and offloading heavy and sometimes hazardous materials. What makes this job even more dangerous is shiftwork.
Many truck drivers working shifts, meaning that in order to make their deadlines they may have to drive all night one week, during the day at another time of the year, and in the early mornings or early evenings during another part of a season. Even with Hours of Service (HoS) regulations, the fact that truck drivers don’t work business hours can hurt them and can increase their risk of truck accidents in Miami and other communities.
How shiftwork leads to fatigued driving
There are many reasons why shift work is considered dangerous – and there’s lots of research to prove it. Quite simply, shiftwork disrupts usual social, sleep, and eating patterns, leading to dangerous driving and even health concerns. Drivers who work in shifts face a number of challenges:
1) Their social lives are disrupted.
People who work the night shift or change shifts while the rest of the world works business hours face a disadvantage when it comes time to socialize. This is especially true for truck drivers, who may be driving across the country and may be far away from loved ones for weeks at a time. Social isolation has been linked to increased depression and other health concerns.
2) They may face sleep loss – including chronic sleep loss.
Studies have shown that shift workers face increased sleep loss for a number of reasons. Part of it may have to do with the fact that adjusting to different sleep times may be more difficult, leading to sleep loss. In addition, trying to sleep during the day or during nontraditional hours may be more challenging. There may be more noise and distractions, more lights during the daytime impeding sleep, and other challenges.
Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep can lead to fatigued driving in Hollywood and other communities, causing slow response times or even leading to truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Not getting enough sleep can also cause serious health concerns, including increased blood pressure and other dangerous conditions that can affect driving ability eventually.
3) Their sleep patterns may be disrupted.
One of the big problems with shiftwork is that sleep patterns become disrupted, affecting not just amount of sleep but also quality of sleep. Someone who has to switch from an evening shift to a morning shift, for example, may struggle to fall asleep at appointed times or may find themselves waking frequently through the night, waking up tired and more prone to accidents on the road.
4) Their eating patterns, exercise patterns, and other patterns necessary for health may be affected.
It’s not just sleeping patterns that are disrupted. Someone who works shifts may have a hard time sticking to a regular exercise schedule because they are awake when gyms are closed or because they’re so tired from sleep loss. Shiftwork can make it harder to eat healthfully, especially since often only fast food options are available late at night. In some cases, shiftwork can make it harder to stick to a healthy lifestyle, which can affect overall health and safety on the road.
If you have been injured by a truck driver who was fatigued or at fault, you may have a legal claim. To find out more, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free case analysis.