The car accident rate associated with individuals who work an overnight shift is alarming for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so much so that they are taking steps to address the situation. Many Pennsylvanians work the so-called “graveyard shift” and are on the highways every morning after a shift ends and late at night before it begins.
Workers after their night shift have to then fight the traditional morning rush hour traffic. Even the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Traffic Safety Administration are concerned due to the impact on truck accident rates.
Development of Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Studies on this topic have resulted in the assignment of SWSD, which stands for Shift Work Sleep Disorder. In general, nighttime is designed for proper sleep, while third-shift workers must sleep during the daytime. This creates a scenario where night shift workers often must tend to personal issues or any of life’s other intrusions during the time that they should be sleeping for proper rest before a work shift. Many motor vehicle accidents occur during both commute time periods at alarming rates.
Suggested remedies for SWSD
In addition to focusing on proper sleep, national transportation safety agencies and many personal injury attorneys have encouraged some proactive steps that overnight shift workers should consider in getting to and from work. One potential step would be to carpool whenever possible, as it reduces the number of vehicles on the road and increases the potential that one worker who is driving will be well-rested. Another alternative for those in urban areas is public transportation or even hiring a taxi for work commutes.
The truth about working the overnight shift is that the schedule seriously interrupts the worker’s ability to get proper rest in any cycle, including off time. Many want to enjoy their off time as much as possible, and the time frame for doing so requires them to venture out at a time when they typically would be sleeping.