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Study ranks truckers among most sleep-deprived workers in U.S.

Sleep deprivation affects many truckers in North Carolina and across the U.S. In fact, a Ball State University study that involved over 150,000 working adults found that 41% of those in the transportation and material moving industry get inadequate sleep: that is, less than seven hours a night. This put truckers near the top of professions with the most sleep-deprived workers.

The military and police saw the most instances of sleep deprivation with 50% of respondents reporting it. After that were those in the health care industry (45%) and those in production (41%). These statistics were taken in 2018, and overall, 35.6% of respondents experienced poor sleep. This is an increase from the 30.9% of respondents who reported it in 2010.

In many of these professions, 24-hour shift work is common. While researchers did not provide a single cause for this increase in sleep-deprived workers, several explanations can be put forward. For instance, many Americans are working longer hours and suffering more from work-related stress. Electronic devices are also more widespread, and these tend to make users stay up late.The study found that the highest increase in sleep deprivation between 2010 and 2018 was reported by men, older adults and multiracial individuals. Those who were widowed, divorced or separated also saw an increase.

To prevent drowsy driving, federal law limits the number of hours that long-haul truckers can drive and stipulates how long their rest periods should be. It is not uncommon for trucking companies to put pressure on their drivers to stay behind the wheel longer than they should. Victims of accidents that were caused by truck driver fatigue might want to meet with an attorney to see what their options are.

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