SAN ANTONIO — Drowsy driving can lead to accidents.
It can also impact a commercial truck driver’s ability to do their job.
On Thursday, the City of San Antonio approved a three-year contract to get their truck drivers key medical equipment that can keep them well rested for the roads.
The concrete pad is the start of a career path.
“I change people’s lives, I take them from where they were to where they’re going to go, they’re just not there yet,” Noel Smith has more than 30 years of truck driving experience—and is the program director for SAGE Driving School.
The school, which offers a six week training course has many important lessons.
“You just got to drive the rig not for you but everyone else around you, because you’re trying to keep everybody safe,” Smith says drivers can deal with fatigue on the roads.
Safety and sleep can travel in tandem.
National data shows almost one third of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea, which can impact focus and reactions behind the wheel.
Each driver has to complete a physical to meet federal Department of Transportation requirements.
“It is mandatory in the truck driving world to make sure they pass those sleep [studies], if they don’t get it, they don’t go to work for most of the companies that are out there,” Smith said.
The City of San Antonio approved a contract with a third-party vendor to provide sleep studies and CPAP machines if needed.
Citing a shortage of qualified drivers and a shortage of sleep study equipment.
The demand is this high but the supply of truck drivers is down here, you can’t balance things out. That’s why we got empty shelves because we don’t have people that can deliver the products,” Smith adds.
He hopes the sleep study equipment can help drivers stay healthy for the highways.