Q: How much sleep do truckers need in order to be able to drive safely?
After an extremely long haul, you made your delivery. Although you were sure that you’d be able to take a much deserved rest, your boss informed you that you had to pick up a delivery from Philly, and return before you could take a few days off. Exhausted and irritable, you manage to take a quick cat nap before heading up to Pennsylvania.
You made it as far as Silver Spring before you started to get a huge headache and your vision began to get blurry. You chugged some black coffee and continued through Silver Spring—getting extremely anxious and jerky.
You just took an hour nap, why are you so distracted and tired?
Sleep Interval Impairments and Benefits
Fatigued truckers contribute to approximately 2,000 accidents a year, injuring and killing over 20,000 people—including themselves. Although federal mandates require truckers to get at least eight-hours of sleep a day, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration estimates that most truck drivers only average four to five hours a day. Some people may argue that five hours of rest is plenty of time to adequately recharge your body. However, multiple studies have shown a direct link between the effects of fatigue and the effects of intoxication.
The following effects of hourly sleep are:
- No sleep. Headaches, poor vision, irritability, muscle exhaustion, hallucinations, decreased reaction time, inability to focus, lack of motivation, and sudden unconsciousness can all be caused by no sleep.
- Around one to two hours of sleep. False sense of focus, increased symptoms of no sleep, memory loss, and confusion are all effects of one to two hours of sleep.
- Around three to six hours of sleep. Although the more sleep you get the better, a continuous routine of less than eight-hours of sleep can have medical consequences as well as being physically distracting. Obesity, diabetes, heart damage, memory loss, decreased focus, and reaction time could all affect your ability to drive safely.
- Seven to eight hours of sleep. The average person requires at least seven-hours of sleep in order to complete his REM and Non-REM cycles—deep sleep where the brain restores chemical compounds, and the body restores muscles, tissues and bone. When you manage to get eight or more hours of rest, your body is allowed the time it needs to rejuvenate in order to have the full function and awareness that you need.
When your body is deprived of this time to restore itself, muscle and brain functions become diminished, producing the side effects that occur when you only get up to six-hours of sleep.
Protecting Yourself After an Accident
Accidents can happen anytime—even when you believe you’re alert and fully awake. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your rights as a truck driver. We’ll help you understand the options available to you after a truck accident.
We’re here to help you and your family in any way we can, so don’t hesitate to give us a call, send us an email, or contact us personally through LinkedIn and Google Plus. We take pride in making sure our clients are well informed, comfortable, and confident, so call now for the peace of mind that you deserve.
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