There is little argument that commercial truck drivers are one of the most significant factors in keeping our economy moving. Truck drivers are entrusted with the responsibility of transporting goods across vast distances, spending long hours behind the wheel. However, the demanding nature of their profession often takes a toll on their mental health, which can, in turn, have a profound impact on road safety and increase the risk of devastating truck accidents.
The mental health of commercial truck drivers is a critical – yet often overlooked – issue impacting road safety. The trucking industry is notorious for operating under tight deadlines, placing demanding schedules on truckers that many times involve extended periods of isolation for those drivers. Combined with the pressure drivers are put under to meet almost impossible delivery targets and other stresses of the job can result in a range of mental health issues that can place the driver and other commuters at great risk. Anyone injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent driver should consult with an Illinois personal injury lawyer for legal assistance.
Life on the Road
It is estimated that a long-distance truck driver travels about 3,000 or more miles per week or approximately 450 miles per day. Even though there are federal regulations that limit how many miles a truck driver can travel and mandated breaks, life on the road takes a toll on many drivers’ physical and emotional health. Most drivers travel alone, not getting enough sleep, having little to no exercise, and a diet that usually consists of truck stop meals.
One of the most prevalent mental health issues among truck drivers is depression. The solitary nature of the job and the constant pressure to meet almost unattainable deadlines can contribute to feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Depressed drivers may find it challenging to concentrate on the road, react to unexpected situations, or make rational decisions in high-stress situations. This can lead to an increased risk of accidents caused by impaired cognitive function.
The long and irregular hours that truck drivers often work can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, contributing to sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Sleep-deprived drivers are less alert, more prone to microsleeps (brief lapses in attention), and have impaired decision-making abilities. These factors significantly increase the likelihood of accidents due to fatigue.
Studies show that almost 20 percent of commercial truck drivers admit to binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks within a short period of time. Just under 10 percent of drivers admit to drinking alcohol every day.
Drug abuse is also a significant mental health issue for truck drivers. In one recent survey, almost 30 percent of truck drivers admitted to drug use, including amphetamines and cocaine. Drivers say they use these stimulants to help them stay awake on the road so they can travel more miles.
Contact a Kane County, IL Personal Injury Lawyer for Legal Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, call [[title]] at [[phone]] to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our dedicated Aurora, IL truck accident attorneys and find out what legal recourse you may have.