Almost a third of HGV drivers admit falling asleep at the wheel

Two lorries on the motorway driving side to side. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two lorries on the motorway driving side to side. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lorry drivers’ lives are put at risk by long hours and lack of facilities, says union

Almost a third of lorry drivers have admitted falling asleep at the wheel, mainly because of long working days or disturbed sleep, a new study reveals.

A survey of 3,200 HGV drivers found they were most likely to feel tired or drowsy if they had slept in their vehicles at the side of the road or in a service station car park.

The Unite union said its research showed the need for an increase in decent truck stop facilities.

National officer Adrian Jones said: “The findings of this survey are profoundly shocking. People’s lives are being put at risk due to a lack of welfare facilities and workers being forced to work excessive hours.

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“It doesn’t take a genius to work out that, if drivers are regularly sleeping in their cabs, tiredness will become a major hazard. Yet virtually nothing is being done to tackle this problem.

“The Government must take the lead and require all local authorities to provide truck stops to meet local requirements. The authorities can’t be allowed to continue to pretend it is someone else’s problem.

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“Companies are continually forcing drivers to work longer, as they are obsessed with the just-in-time delivery model. This can inevitably lead to tragic consequences. Driver welfare should be a company’s first priority, not just an afterthought.”

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