Truck drivers who slept better were less of a cash drain to employers, a Harvard study said.

Truck drivers who slept better were less of a cash drain to employers, a Harvard study said.

Looking to save your business some cash?

Make sure your employees are getting their beauty rest.

A groundbreaking study showed that truck drivers diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who were compliant with treatment were less likely to be involved in preventable truck crashes, which can cost employers cash in lost work time, insurance bumps and repairs.

The Study – and Its Revealing Conclusions

Green Bay, WI-based Schneider National gave Harvard Medical School researchers access to data they collected based on an incentive where OSA-sufferer employees were only allowed to stay on if they treated their condition.

Drivers who had OSA were required to wear a CPAP machine at night.

No lightweight study, the Harvard researchers followed the results for nine years and concluded that non-treatment compliant OSA sufferers increased risks for themselves – and for the company.

“We found that those who were not compliant with treatment had a 400-percent increased risk of serious, preventable truck crashes compared with those who were compliant with treatment,” said Charles Czeisler, MD, chief of the sleep and circadian disorders division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School professor.

Staggeringly, costs went down by $6000 per year among treatment-complaint drivers, the researchers revealed.

Future Trend?

Depending upon the legalities, such incentives could become a trend among employers in the future.

But work incentives aside, the study gives general information that could apply to any of us: chiefly, that being sleepy in the daytime, especially in conjunction with the temporary oxygen deprivation that can come from an OSA condition, could result in driving or machine-operation accidents.

Indeed, the focus of the accidents studied by Harvard doctors was that the accidents among non-compliant drivers were preventable.

How Sleepiness Impacts Our Driving

Watch out – if you’re a tired driver, many of your systems are affected. For example, too little sleep the night before can result in:

  • morning headache (which can be distracting during driving)
  • slower reaction time
  • “fogginess”/less mental alertness
  • irritation/aggression (aggressive driving is more likely to produce accidents, overall)

If you’re already experiencing tiredness during the day and can’t figure out why, see your doctor. You could be suffering from an undiagnosed sleep condition.

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