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A survey of truck drivers conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that In any given month, at least one out of eight long-distance truck drivers dozes at the wheel.

A story about the survey published in today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel summarizes the causes of accidents involving truck drivers in this way:

A 2006 government study of large-truck crashes involving death or injury found that 11.6% were caused by “non-performance” in which the driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure or was physically impaired for some other reason.Thirty-eight percent of the crashes, meanwhile, were caused by bad decisions – driving too fast, following too closely or misjudging other drivers’ actions. More than 28% were attributed to the driver not paying attention, getting distracted or failing to adequately observe what was happening.Automobile drivers suffer from fatigue, too, Osiecki said. He pointed to the federal study of large-truck crashes, which found that in car-truck accidents, the car driver was twice as likely as the trucker to be fatigued.

Schneider National, a trucking firm based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is adressing the issue with an innovative truck driver treatment program for sleep apnea, a program that has been lauded by the National Sleep Foundation.

Hopefully, addressing driver fatigue proactively as Schneider has done will become the standard for the trucking industry and help avoid tragic highway accidents.

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