Many people believe their bodies can adapt to chronic sleep loss. Some even think working long shifts on little sleep is a sign of toughness.
But recent research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) proves the opposite is true. Missing just 2-3 hours of sleep creates the same impairment as being legally drunk. The study also mentions the most terrifying phrase we’ve heard in awhile, “involuntary microsleeps.”
To make matters worse, the NIH study found fatigue symptoms often go unrecognized by the affected individual. Just like drunk drivers tell themselves, "I'm totally fine to drive," sleep-deprived drivers don't realize they're incapable of driving safely.
According to the NIH, 20 percent of serious car crashes are caused by driver fatigue alone. These drivers weren't drunk or under the influence; they were simply exhausted.
Your fleet no doubt has a zero-tolerance policy on driving under the influence, but what about sleep deprivation?
5 Scary Stats About Driver Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
A zero-tolerance policy on drunk driving protects your drivers, your company reputation and others on the road. But without a plan to help drivers manage fatigue, responsible fleets are vulnerable to deadly incidents caused by drowsy driving.
Here are five scary stats about driver fatigue every fleet manager should consider:
- Drowsy driving causes 1 million crashes, 500,000 injuries, and 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
- When a driver misses just 1-2 hours of sleep, they’re twice as likely to have an incident.
- Severely sleep-deprived drivers, who’ve had fewer than four hours of sleep, are 11.5 times more likely to crash.
- Losing an entire night's sleep has the same effect as a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent - that's beyond the legal limit to drive.
- Missing two hours of sleep every night for more than a week creates the same cognitive impairment as staying up all night.
Educating drivers about DOT hours of service rules (HOS) is important, but so is explaining the dangers of drowsy driving. Teaching one without the other is a bit like telling someone, "germs are bad," without showing them how to properly wash their hands.
As the stats above illustrate, drowsy driving is extremely dangerous (involuntary microsleeps…. *shudder*). That’s why safe fleets train drivers to recognize the early symptoms of fatigue and have a policy against drowsy driving.
This time of year, there are 5-8 more hours of darkness compared to summer, so it’s especially important that drivers know how to recognize and manage fatigue. Fewer daytime hours and long shifts put drivers at risk (especially inexperienced ones).
ITI's convenient online courses train drivers how to identify fatigue, why drowsy driving is dangerous, what steps to take if they feel sleepy, and how to set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Our 10-minute online course on fatigue management educates drivers about:
- Signs of fatigue
- Fatigue prevention
- What to do if you feel drowsy
- Cumulative fatigue
- Sleep apnea
ITI also offers online courses to help drivers improve their night driving skills, overall wellness, and understand the new HOS rules. All lessons can be completed via laptop, tablet or phone anywhere the driver has internet access. What better place to train drivers about fatigue management than out on the road?
Our online courses are convenient for fleet safety managers, too. Lessons can be assigned in just a few clicks with Sentix, ITI’s learning management system (LMS). Our easy-to-use system allows you to automatically track, manage, and document driver training.
Online Driver Training Prevents Drowsy Driving Incidents
Online driver training from ITI is a cost-effective, proven way to help drivers adopt safe driving habits so everyone gets home safe.
- ITI's ClearDrive™ is designed for the specific needs of commercial and delivery fleets.
- PRO-TREAD® - is the trucking industry's most respected online truck driver safety training. It’s advanced enough to keep the attention of million-mile drivers, and basic enough for new drivers, too.
ITI is the trusted training partner of leading fleets including: FedEx, Frito Lay, Ryder Leasing, Ashley Homestore, Pilot Flying J, The Dairy Farmers of America and many others. Learn more about ITI’s online training packages and custom training options for your fleet.
Let us help your fleet exceed its safety goals and avoid expensive incidents. Getting started is easy. Connect with a training consultant online or by phone (360-576-5976, option 4), to request an online demo and get answers to any questions you may have.