It is all but impossible to avoid commercial trucks when traveling roadways across Las Vegas and Nevada, but for many motorists, sharing the road with these heavy, oversize vehicles can be an anxiety-inducing experience. While traveling alongside semi-trucks can prove dangerous under the best possible circumstances, truckers who abuse drugs or alcohol, or fail to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel pose even more of a threat to motorists.

While trucker substance abuse and similar issues have long threatened the safety of others on the roadway, reports that something else may be making today’s truck drivers even more substantial highway hazards: long commutes. Just how are long truck driver commutes threatening other drivers on Nevada’s, and the rest of the nation’s, roads?

The impact of excessive commuting

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is conducting more research to determine just how much of an impact an excessively long commute has on a semi-truck driver’s performance, with “excessive commutes” referencing those 150 minutes in length or longer. While this may sound like an unusually long commute, in fact, such commutes have become increasingly common across the industry as truck drivers struggle to afford housing in the urban areas where their employers are often based.

These long commutes can affect trucker performance in a number of different ways, all of which may increase a trucker’s chances of getting into an accident. For starters, long trucker commutes cut into what should be a trucker’s off-duty hours, which he or she may otherwise use for sleeping or spending time with loved ones. Failing to get adequate sleep can affect driver performance in numerous ways, affecting everything from judgment to one’s degree of alertness behind the wheel. Truckers with excessively long commutes are also statistically more likely to be physically unhealthy, which can make them more prone to suffering heart attacks or other health issues while on the job.

The FMCSA will continue to research the issue of long trucker commutes to determine just how pervasive a problem it is, and how to improve safety for everyone on the road.