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Are truck drivers well rested when passing through Washington?

Seattle residents may be disappointed to hear that the nation's truck drivers, train engineers and even pilots are not getting enough sleep, according to a study recently released by the National Sleep Foundation.

The study says that these transportation navigators are much sleepier than other American employees, and as such they are at a great risk of getting in dangerous accidents. According to the study, 23 percent of pilots and 26 percent of train operators have admitted that they are so tired that it affects their job performance at least once per week.

Fourteen percent of big-rig drivers said that they have made a major mistake or a close call because they were tired, the study states. Six percent of train operators and pilots said that sleepiness has actually led to a car accident while they were on their way to or from work.

For comparison, only 1 percent of workers outside of the transportation business said sleepiness has caused them to get into a car accident during their commute. Seventeen percent of those who do not work in transportation said that inadequate rest affects their job performance at least once weekly.

The government is aware of the sleepiness problem, and has issued new guidelines for the work hours of America's truck drivers and pilots since December.

While a lack of rest can certainly make it difficult to perform any job well, it is of the utmost importance for transportation operators to be well-rested. The margin of error is so small and the risks are so great that car, truck, plane and train operators simply cannot afford not to be alert on the job.

Source: Washington Times, "Not getting enough rest a problem for operators of planes, trains, trucks," Ben Wolfgang, March 6, 2012

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