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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

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Depression and the Long Haul Trucker


A long haul trucker is no stranger to sleep deprivation. Even local truck drivers deal with the problem of little rest, many working 70 hour weeks. Sleep deprivation is the leading cause of serious truck related accidents, resulting in as high as 40% of all crashes. The constant attitude of many motor carriers of “you’ve got to get the freight there,” is an enormous stress on the long haul trucker. Even though Federal Regulations require a driver to take a 10-hour break after 14 hours of on duty time, these 10 hours often work out to be only 5-6 hours of actual sleep per day.

Several years ago, I decided to keep a log of the actual sleep time I received each day. Over a six-week period, it showed that I was only actually “sleeping” an average of 4 hours per day. Twenty eight hours of sleep in an entire week . . . and to add to the problem, a great deal of long haul trucking is done at night.

Sleep deprivation can lead to many other health problems, including depression. Adding the lack of sleep on top of endless hours alone and away from family, increases the risk of “the invisible illness,” depression. Though statistics vary, it is believed that depression in long haul truck drivers is as high as 30-40 percent.

Signs of depression include:

Feeling of hopelessness

Loss of interest in daily activities

Change in appetite or weight

Sleep disturbances

Loss of energy or fatigue

Aches and pains

Low self esteem

Less interest in sex

Feeling of sadness and crying spells

Thoughts of suicide

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above on a regular basis, you may be battling “the invisible illness.” See your doctor. Depression is treatable and you DO NOT have to live that way! The first step is recognizing the signs and the second step is doing something about it. Go to your doctor and get the help that will change your life. As your friend in trucking . . . don’t think about it . . . DO IT.

About the Author:

Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the Truth About Trucking and How to Guarantee a “Perfect” Move.

© 2007 – 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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One Response to Depression and the Long Haul Trucker. - Post a Comment

  1. […] Practicing positive thinking allows people with ADD to focus on their strengths and accomplishments, which increases happiness and motivation. This, in turn, allows them to spend more time making progress, and less time feeling down and stuck.   Those in trucking can fall into a “negative” trap also, due to all of the hardships and struggles a driver faces on a daily basis.  Problems with the shippers and receivers, dispatchers, traffic, DOT, law enforcement and the general public can, over time, lead to a negative outlook on life…and even depression […]

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