It is a well-known fact that large trucks are involved in many accidents across the country every year. Fast highway speeds and the immense size of commercial trucks can create a deadly combination. Truck drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere may also work in stressful and unhealthy situations, further increasing their risk of causing an accident.
Smart Trucking points out that stress is highly prevalent among long-distance truckers. Truck drivers must deal with numerous factors that add to their stress or fatigue, including the following:
- Long hours on the road and tight deadlines, leading to insufficient sleep and drowsy driving
- Extended time away from their family and loved ones, which can cause loneliness, isolation and depression
- A poor “convenience station” diet and little time for exercise, leading to such health issues as heart disease, diabetes and obesity
Any of the above factors could lead to an accident. For example, a truck driver with obesity-related pulmonary issues might suffer a heart attack behind the wheel. Or, after several hours on the road, a trucker might nod off and drift into another lane.
In 2016, 89 people in Louisiana were killed in crashes involving large trucks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This number was higher than the previous three years. If the trucking industry recognized and addressed many of the stress-related issues truckers face each day behind the wheel, in addition to the more commonly recognized fatigue problems, it may make a positive impact in reducing truck accidents across the country.