The most dangerous leg of your employee’s next business trip might be their 4 a.m. drive to the airport. In fact, sleeping five hours or less increases the risk of an accident by four to five times.1Encouraging the health and wellness of employees, including providing training to help prevent driving while fatigued, is an important part of a company’s vehicle risk management program.
Studies show that 94% of accidents are caused by driver factors.2 Driver fatigue, distraction and sleep apnea can all increase the likelihood of accidents, which can lead to costly workers compensation claims, lost work time and on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Despite advances in technology, drivers remain the most important safety element of any vehicle.
With half of U.S. adults now living with one or more chronic health condition, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and stress,3 driver health and wellness is a growing concern. In particular, obesity, which affects 34%4 of the U.S. population and 53%5 of commercial drivers, is a contributing factor to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects 17-28%6 of commercial drivers and can increase a driver’s likelihood of driving while fatigued or drowsy. The nature of commercial driving can be a high-risk occupation for drivers due to the shift work and long hours, inadequate or irregular sleep, sedentary lifestyle associated with the field and limited nutrition options on the road. Commercial truck drivers may have a 12-19 year reduced life expectancy.7
Following are some tips to help encourage driver health and wellness as part of your vehicle risk management program: