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Truck driver with sleep apnea yawning

3 Reasons Sleep Apnea Is a Concern for Truck Drivers

It’s late. You’re driving on an open stretch of road, it’s quiet, and your eyelids begin to droop. We’ve all been there, and man, isn’t it scary? Driving is such an ordinary task that it’s easy to forget how dangerous it is. A moment of distraction can easily become your last moment ever. Sleepiness is even more dangerous, and truck drivers who work long hours or night shifts need to be especially cautious. Concerningly, getting enough sleep isn’t always enough to fight back fatigue. Sleep apnea, one of the top five most common sleep disorders, can lead to persistent fatigue and drowsiness. Many drivers don’t even realize they have it. 

Sleep apnea is a bigger health concern than you might think.

Truck driver sleeping

Truck driver sleeping. About 35 years old, African male.

The most obvious symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. The disorder is more complex than that, however. In people with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the throat relax during sleep to the point that their airway temporarily becomes blocked. They stop breathing briefly before awakening abruptly to gasp for air. These episodes are so brief that the individual often doesn’t recall having ever woken up. 

While one night of interrupted sleep is no big deal, people with untreated sleep apnea suffer from a wide range of symptoms that can significantly affect their health and daily lives. There are three main reasons truck drivers should be on the lookout for signs of sleep apnea: 

  1. It leads to more serious health problems.
    At first people with sleep apnea may notice nothing more than waking up with a headache, irritability, and snoring loud enough to wake the neighbors. Over time, the symptoms become more serious. They often develop brain fog, insomnia, and intense daytime sleepiness.

    If left untreated, it can also lead to or worsen high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Weight gain is another common side effect. All of these issues are often linked, each one magnifying the others. The ramifications go beyond productivity, impacting drivers on every level.
  2. It endangers drivers and others on the road.
    Daytime sleepiness and general fatigue are extremely dangerous when your job entails long hours on the road. Those with sleep apnea are up to five times more likely to get in a car accident than people with normal sleep patterns. Falling asleep at the wheel can be lethal not only to the driver but to other drivers and passengers as well– Especially when the driver is operating a massive truck.
  3. Irregular sleep schedules can make sleep apnea side effects worse.
    Sleep apnea is problematic enough for people working a 9-5. It’s even worse for truck drivers who work night shifts. Odd hours don’t worsen sleep apnea itself, working during the night often leads to increased drowsiness. Drivers are more likely to rely on unhealthy energy drinks to stay alert, further damaging their health in the process. 

All truck drivers should be screened, just in case.

If we’re making sleep apnea sound like a big deal, that’s because it is. Fortunately, treating it is much less challenging than living with it. If you or someone you know is experiencing any symptoms that could be tied to sleep issues, like persistent sleepiness, morning headaches, irritability, or loud snoring, visiting your PCP is the first step. 

They’ll likely order a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment can entail using a breathing machine at night or wearing a special night guard to help keep your airways open. It’s a headache, but it’s much less of a headache than falling asleep at the wheel. For trucking companies like BYX, it’s always a good idea to inform drivers about the common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Better safe than sorry. 

 

Driver shortage

TIME Claims There’s No Truck Driver Shortage. Here’s Where They’re Wrong

Time Magazine published an article in late 2021 claiming that the truck driver shortage is a fallacy. As a decades-old trucking company, we beg to differ. While their statistics are on point, Time lacks perspective. To clear things up, here’s an insider view on one of the biggest issues plaguing America’s supply chain issues today. 

The claim: The driver shortage doesn’t exist.

To start, TIME’s infamous article covered some indisputable basics: America’s supply chain is struggling, leading to frustrating delays over the holidays and ongoing product shortages. The crisis began months ago, and yet our favorite muffin at Starbucks and the new smartphone we saved up for remains stubbornly unavailable. 

Many experts have cited a truck driver shortage– the largest we’ve seen in decades, as a strong contributing factor to the recurrent delays, but TIME says it doesn’t exist. To be specific, their article stated that:

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truck driver vaccine

Truck Drivers Need Vaccines. Here’s Where They Stand

When Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson rolled out the first COVID-19 vaccines in December, most of us breathed a sigh of relief. We knew that vaccines would be offered in stages, and we expected senior citizens, high-risk individuals, and essential workers to be given first priority. (As they should!) What we didn’t expect was that truck drivers would come almost last. 

The CDC has broken vaccine recommendations into three phases. Phase 1A includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes people over 75 and frontline essential workers. The last phase, Phase 1C includes people between 65-75, people under 65 with elevated risk, and other essential workers. For now, truck drivers are considered other essential workers, falling into the last phase of early vaccine rollouts.  Read more

Black truck driver standing next to truck. Diversity in the trucking industry is still a work in progress

Diversity in the Trucking Industry: The Facts

Equality in the workplace has been an issue for as long as equality has been an issue. In other words, forever. The years since Martin Luther King gave his famous speech and Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus have trickled by, but race is just as important a topic today as it was at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. 60 years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Black truck driver. Today, diversity in the trucking industry looks a lot different. It’s far from perfect, but we’ve come along way. Read more

Empty trucking warehouse

Trucking Companies in Los Angeles Expect a Driver Shortage in 2021. Here’s What It Means.

2020 has been a strange year across all industries. For trucking companies in Los Angeles, however, a significant upheaval has been brewing for years. A combination of factors has led to plenty of demand, but not nearly enough supply. The economy took a hit when COVID-19 first began, but the limited number of drivers on the road will pose challenges as it begins to reopen. To find out what the future of trucking might look like for local freight companies and their customers, keep reading.

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Man dropping boxes

What’s Really Happening When Shipments Get Damaged

There are few things more frustrating than shipping out an order and receiving a customer complaint that the item arrived broken. It’s a headache for everyone involved, but the occasional damaged shipment is inevitable. Does it mean that the carriers were rough with your shipment? Absolutely not! Damaged packages happen within even the best trucking companies in the country. Here’s why.

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Happy truck driver working forlocal freight companies

5 Simple Steps to Enthusiastic Employees

Between COVID-19 and wildfires, 2020 has thrown up plenty of roadblocks. This is especially true for business owners and their employees. For local freight companies like us, work has been busier than ever, but in many other industries, that’s sadly not the case. 

When work is slow or sporadic, even the most productive team can become sluggish and stressed. Fortunately, business owners can help! Keep reading to learn five easy ways to elevate, engage, and excite your employees. (Even in 2020!)

1. Show Gratitude

Everyone thrives off appreciation, and your employees are no exception. Team meetings are a good start, but teams are made up of individuals. By acknowledging the skills and contributions of each team member, you’re telling them, “Hey! You’re not just a chess piece to me. You’re important to this company and I’m glad you’re here.”

The more your team members feel valued, the more value they’ll add!

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local trucking

Top Pieces of Advice For New Truckers

Starting a new career can make you feel excited and a bit nervous…especially one as thrilling as truck driving and you may feel some pressure to start out on the right note and put your best foot forward (literally speaking). To help you get settled in and comfy behind the wheels, here’s a list of the top pieces of advice for new truckers. Read more