When you hit the road, your safety and the safety of other drivers constantly affect one another. Any risky behavior another driver partakes in could potentially impact your own drive, and vice versa.
With that in mind, why are drowsy truckers even more of a threat than most other drivers? What is it about the combination of drowsiness and truck drivers that creates so many potentially lethal situations?
The deadly size of trucks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention look into why drowsy truckers pose such a risk. The first factor ties to the size of their vehicle. Most private vehicles fit anywhere from 4 to 6 people. Some vans might fit more. But the average weight of a van is roughly around 4,300 pounds. By comparison, the average weight of an 18 wheeler is 80,000 pounds. And that is only if the trailer is not overloaded, which they sometimes are.
On top of that, tractor trailers are often around 70 to 80 feet long. Comparatively, the average size of a school bus is around 35 feet long. In other words, trucks take up an enormous amount of space and are critically heavy, which often puts other vehicles at huge risk if a crash happens.
Drowsy driving in the trucking industry
Next, drowsiness runs rampant in the trucking industry. It is bad enough that some trucking companies even unintentionally encourage drowsy driving through incentives. They may pay out more for a driver who does more deliveries in a day, or someone who covers more miles in a shorter span of time. This encourages drivers to skimp on sleep and keep on the road even when they should rest. A drowsy trucker poses as many risks as a drowsy driver and then some due to the vehicle they man, which is why this is such an enormous problem.