“It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all…”
Please accept our apology in advance for that Disneyland earworm being stuck in your head for the foreseeable future. However, that song is not the only place where the world can seem small. In an increasingly global economy, it’s becoming more common to look thousands of miles away and see familiar sights – both good and bad.
A recent example comes to us from more than 8,000 miles away in India. An expose by Quartz India revealed that truck drivers in the world’s second-most populous country are often “sleepless for days”, overworked, underpaid, and lacking healthcare.
The truck drivers interviewed for the story went into detail about their lives as truck drivers. One driver said his “record is driving non-stop for three days without any rest” and said drivers “sleep only if we absolutely have to, usually around 2 AM, and wake up by 5 AM.”
Indian truck drivers aren’t engaging in such sleep deprivation because they are crazy; they are enduring the brutal grind in order to “earn a good bonus”.
Working hard and sacrificing to make ends meet for our families is something we can all relate to. In North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States we can also relate to the concept of drowsy truck drivers. Drowsy driving claimed 795 lives as recently as 2017 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The reasons this happens in our neck of the woods boils down to the same reason it happens in India: the almighty dollar (or rupee). We have more laws and regulations here, including those that require drivers to keep logs and meet rest requirements, but corners are cut in order to increase profits. Drivers are caught between a rock and a hard place when faced with the physical need to sleep and the knowledge that their bosses only care about getting loads to their destination on time, no matter how unrealistic the time frame is.
In India, the United States and developed countries in between, it’s the average citizen who pays the price for truck driver and trucking company negligence in the form of truck accidents, catastrophic injuries, and lost lives.
“It’s a small world after all…”