Written by Jack Krohn
How many times have you been driving on a highway and the large truck in front of you slowly crosses the yellow line and then, with a jerk, the driver corrects himself and pulls the truck over to the right. That happened to me just two days ago on my way to New Mexico on I25 in Colorado. It can happen anywhere, anytime.
The annual report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that "fatal highway incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal workplace event, accounting for one in every four fatalities nationally in 2005" the latest year they have the figures. Fatal highway incidents rose by 2 percent in 2005, accounting for 1,428 worker deaths.
ONE IN FOUR!
Since 2002 thru 2005 there has been a nearly 25% increase in fatal and non fatal crashes
to 144,742 and the trend continues upward.
All manner of goods from produce to pool tables from tires to textiles are moved around the country by means of the trucking industry. Truckers moreover are the salt of the earth.
Truck drivers, men and women , across the country are a vital cog in the wheel of the economy. Interstate and intrastate commerce largely depends on the trucking industry to get goods from point A to point B. But they are jeopardizing their own lives and the lives of all on the roads with them.
Their profession and resultant way of life leads to some very unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyles-sitting most of the day while driving, and long hours resulting in poor sleeping patterns. They tend to be overweight just like most of their brethren in the rest of the country maybe even more so.
All of these factors lead to pre diabetes, Syndrome X and sleep apnea and eventually to diabetes.
The threat they pose of "sleep driving" or just falling asleep at the wheel is every bit as serious as an intoxicated driver and maybe more so. A study showed that people with sleep apnea were seven times more likely to have multiple car accidents.
There are a variety of devices that can keep drivers awake if they are suspect. The 'nap zapper' is the most popular and effective. You attach it to your ear. When it detects a nodding motion of your head as though you are dozing off an alarm goes off waking you and the occupants of the vehicle.