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Showing posts with label sleep deprivation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sleep deprivation. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Did You Know This About the FMCSA Sleep Apnea Screening Rule?

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Aeroflow Industrial recently brought to our attention that a silent killer is lurking on our roads, creeping up on the unsuspecting while they sleep, or at least while they try to. It’s sleep apnea, a condition affecting over 18 million adults across the country.


Sleep apnea often goes unnoticed because it affects you when you sleep. It prevents you from getting the rest you need, so you wake up feeling exhausted. This is especially dangerous for truck drivers because driving tired is the equivalent of driving drunk.

However, truckers may be happy to know that they will face fewer regulations because FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) officially withdrew their proposed sleep apnea screening rule.

The Proposed Sleep Apnea Rule


Currently, medical examiners have the discretion to decide which drivers need to be referred for sleep apnea testing because no rules or regulations are put in place. FMCSA would have given examiners clarity and guidelines to follow.

For example, if you had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or higher you would be referred for sleep apnea testing. You would also be referred for testing if you had a BMI or 33 or higher and met other qualifications like having a collar size greater than 17 inches or having high blood pressure. The total list of qualifications can be viewed here.

Sleep apnea is a serious repository condition that can affect a driver’s abilities to safely operate their vehicle, that’s why sleep apnea screening will most likely become more prevalent in the transportation industry.

Recently in April, former driver Robert J. Parker filed a lawsuit against Crete Carrier Corp, one of the largest based privately-owned trucking companies, claiming that their sleep apnea requirement was unlawful.

The supreme court ruled in Crete’s favor, saying they did not act improperly when they required all drivers with a BMI of 35 or higher to be screened for sleep apnea and to undergo treatment. When Robert refused to be screened he was not given more work. 

A Little About Sleep Apnea


Aeroflow believes that treating sleep apnea is an important safety measure that will save lives and money. Truckers who undergo treatment often have an improved quality of life. Plus, for every $1 spent on sleep apnea testing $3.49 is saved on collision damage costs. One simple test could improve trucker health, safety, and save the U.S. economy about $150 billion. 

Sleep Apnea Testing For Truckers
 Sleep apnea is actually a disorder that causes a person's breathing to become shallow or to stop completely while they sleep. As a result, their brain and body don’t get enough oxygen. If left untreated conditions like diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and more could occur.

You don’t have to be overweight to have sleep apnea. You could have an obstruction in your airways, your neck could be too thin for proper air passage, your tonsils could be large enough to block air flow, and more.

Usually, you don’t know if you have sleep apnea unless you record yourself sleeping or your significant other notices that you snore loudly, gasp, or choke in your sleep. That’s why screening for it is so important. Other symptoms include depression, headaches when you wake up, insomnia, and more.

The test is easy, you go to sleep while being hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung, and brain activity. You can also refer to a sleep apnea questionnaire to assess your risk. Aeroflow will actually review your completed questionnaire and assess your sleep apnea risk. Complete the questionnaire here.

If you have sleep apnea then may be prescribed a CPAP machine or oral breathing device to help you get the oxygen you need. In some cases, you may be asked to lose weight, require surgery, or be put on certain medications. 

Get The Rest You Need


If you get tired be sure to stop to get the rest that you need. Don’t go past your limits. If you regularly wake up feeling fatigued, confused, or with headaches then you may want to consider getting screened for sleep apnea. Also, please share your thoughts about carriers requiring sleep apnea screenings in the comment section below.

For more trucking blogs visit ExpressTruckTax.com.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

How to Sleep on the Road?

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Snooze you lose? That statement is false because it’s more like you lose if you don’t snooze. Driving is an exhausting task, especially for truckers. If you add the exhaustion from driving for hours with sleepless nights then by the end of your trip you will feel awful. Learn how to eliminate stress and grogginess by checking out our tips on how to sleep on the road.

How to Sleep on the Road?


First, we want to remind you how important getting a good night’s rest is. Driving tired is dangerous because it’s the equivalent of driving drunk. When you’re tired then you’re more likely to be confused, stressed out, and have more cravings for sugary foods.

Sleep deprivation leads to slower reaction times, which is dangerous while driving and health risks like high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and more.

To stay in a good, alert mood, and feel your best then you really need to get some good sleep. But how do you do that in a truck?

Evaluate your sleeping materials. You will be spending a lot of time in your truck, so why not make it more comfortable? Invest in a quality cab mattress and a comfortable pillow, as well as a nice blanket. Think of it as making a miniature bedroom away from your bedroom at home.

Then block out all of the light. You could be sleeping in the day and you could be sleeping at night close to bright truck stop lights, so investing in a nice set of blackout curtains is a good call. That will take out the light from truck stops and the sun, but what about the lights from electronic devices inside your cab?

An annoying glow could keep you up for hours. Be sure to unplug everything you can before laying day. You also have the option of investing in a comfortable sleeping mask to block out every source of light around you.

Are you one of those people who can’t sleep through loud noises? Then a good pair of earplugs could do you some good. What if you can’t sleep when it’s too quiet? Then get a fan or a noise app to cover up silence as well as loud noises.

Have you ever been too hot or too cold to sleep? Well, don’t let that happen in your cab. Luckily, temperature issues are easy to fix with a fan or portable heater and an extra blanket or two.

Know where to park! You need to pick a place where you feel safe enough to sleep and one where people won’t knock on your door in the middle of the night. Pick well maintained and lit truck stops. Also, don’t dangerously park on the side of a busy road where cars that whizz by can make your trailer shake.

Give yourself time to unwind. Parking and going straight to sleep can lead to you just laying there all frustrated. Take a little break to read a book, relax with some stretching, or check out Netflix. However, video games, phone screens, and other stimulants should be avoided.

Keep your space clean. Even if you’re comfortable with messes on a subconscious level a messy cab can really stress you out. Make sure your bed and storage areas are kept free of clutter and funky smells.

Sometimes a distracting air freshener scent can keep you awake, along with moldy or nasty smells coming from old food wrappers. Place a can of coffee grounds or box of baking soda under your driver’s seat to soak up any and all odors.

Sweet Dreams


Once you start getting a good night’s rest you’ll realize how much better you feel. Better sleep boosts your mind, energy, and health, so you can focus on driving safely. Don’t be the grumpy trucker that’s secretly just tired!

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and please share your tips about getting good sleep on the road in the comment section below.
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Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Ways to Survive Truck Driving School

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Every year, tons of hopeful truckers enroll in schools and programs to get their CDL's. As with any training program, the work is tough, and you get out of it what you put in. But how can you make sure you survive the whole process? Let’s run through this!

Start Early


So once you’ve been accepted and enrolled into a program, you need to hit the ground running. Find out what books and training materials you need as soon as possible, and start reviewing.

Review everything. It’ll be tough, but you will understand more of what you’re learning later. Learn the definitions of words, or at least familiarize yourself with them.

Also, look into some online communities and learn what you can from there. Whether that’s lingo, or survival tips, you can find plenty in forums, social media, and blogs!

Study Hard


Oh, nobody wants to hear it. You need to study hard. Yeah, you’re going to spend a lot of time learning all this in your classes, but you’re gonna have to put in a ton of time and study hard.

Think about it, not everybody passes their CDL right away. You want to become a trucker, so you’re going to need to get through your training and learn as much as possible.

You don’t want to be a rookie trucker forever, do you? Or worse, a CDL dropout?

Start Sleeping Well


This is a tough one. You might not know this, but sleep is crucial for success, health, and happiness. While you might imagine a gruff, short-tempered trucker as the standard cut of the cloth, that isn’t actually the case.

But plenty of truckers out there have sleep problems from the lifestyle. Of course, this leads to risks. Without sleep, you can find yourself with a grumpy disposition, impaired immunity system, and unable to concentrate.

That’s why you need at least eight hours of sleep, which is even more important once you’re a truck driver. So start doing everything you can to improve your sleep schedule!

Start Being Healthy


When you’re learning the ins and outs of your CDL, you should also spend some of your time off implementing healthy habits that will stick with you in the cab.

Start with your fitness by creating a good workout routine that will stick with you. Learn how to use your environment and your own body, or find mobile fitness tools and routines you can take with you.

We’ve given you fitness advice before, but we’re also big proponents of healthy eating. Ask any trucker about food on the road, and you’ll find out that truck stops are full of convenience foods — not health food.

Now, we’re not saying you need to eat kale chips every day (they’re good, I swear!), but you should do what you can to eat plenty of fresh veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Your diet will affect your disposition as much as sleep and fitness, so start eating right!

Of course, there are other problem areas for truckers — like perpetual back injuries from sitting all day, for example. You will need to watch your health as a trucker, bottom line.

Plan Ahead


Our first bit of advice is to start setting personal goals beyond getting your CDL. All things considered, you will put in the hard work and it’ll pay off with a CDL, and hopefully a trucking job!

But then you will have to decide what kind of job you want to have, where you want to be based out of, and all sorts of other considerations.

While you’re still in school, figure out what you like about driving a truck, learn about company drivers as compared to owner operators, and connect with other students.

No matter what you do, getting your CDL is hard work. With all the hard work you put in, you’ll be a truck driver before you know it. Once you’re a trucker, we’ll be ready to help you e-file Form 2290 right here at ExpressTruckTax!


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7 Ways Truckers Can Prevent Accidents

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Prevent Truck Accidents
Prevent Truck Accidents
There’s nothing worse than a close call on the highway. Well, except for an actual incident!

So what’s the cause of the many trucking accidents? It’s hard to pick one thing, but we know there are a few key factors that always come up.

How can you prevent accidents on the road? By starting with yourself!

We've listened to truckers and health experts to put together these 7 tips for accident prevention.

Get More Sleep


Nothing is more dangerous than falling asleep behind the wheel of a 70,000 lb truck speeding down the highway. Which is why you hear so many people in the industry discussing the sleeping patterns, health, and practices of drivers. Federal regulations do not allow more than 12 consecutive hours of road time, but there are many drivers who do more than this.

How can you avoid sleep deprivation? Rest for short intervals and take breaks when you’re tired. With small amounts of recharge time, you can prevent sleep related accidents.

Sit with Proper Posture


Over at TruckLogics blog, we told you about how you need to watch your back while you drive. And it’s true! When you sit comfortably and don’t damage your back, you reduce the likelihood of personal injury and even roadside incidents.

Related Blog: Is Your Truck Destroying Your Back?

Keep Your Distance


Always be aware of your lane distance as you cross the highways. Knowing your stopping and starting distance, break distance, and proper speeds will be essential for proper safety on the roads.

Stay Healthy


You know what sounds dangerous? Having a heart attack as you zoom down I-95, or any local highway.

That’s why we constantly tell drivers to eat healthy and exercise. Sure, exhaustion is dangerous enough, but your heart will be all the better with proper nutrition and regular exercise. With that one-two punch, you can reduce your excess weight

Bet you’d improve your sleep, too!

Watch for Blind Spots


Depending on what truck you’re driving, your blind spot is gonna be different. Make sure you know what your blind spot distance is, so you will know how far away a car or a person really is from your truck.

This will prevent major accidents on the road, when backing up, and even when removing items from your truck during a delivery.

Maintain Your Truck


Sure, maybe your employer is “responsible” for truck maintenance as a whole, but you should always implement pre-trip inspections and keep an eye on your truck out there on the road. These checks not only reduce the possibilities for something to go wrong, they also keep you secure in your work and your driving.

Manage Your Time & Profession


Time is money. Trucking is money. Instead of reacting to what happens on the road, plan ahead and document frequently. What we’re saying is, use a trucking software like TruckLogics to stay ahead of the game.

Sure, it might not prevent an accident as well as keeping the proper distance, but having access to all of your receipts, bills of lading, and invoices in one handy phone app will reduce a lot of the stress of your life.

Don’t forget, we’re only a few months away from your 2290 deadline - be sure to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest HVUT e-filing updates!


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Thursday, March 10, 2016

5 Trucker Trends to Watch

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We’re rolling into spring, leaving winter behind, and it feels good. Right now, there’s nothing on your mind—you’re just enjoying the open road. But a voice in the back of your head says, “Hey, what are you missing? You gotta be missing something!”
So just in case, we’re bringing you an update on the latest happenings in our neck of the woods. Here are some news items and events that affect you as a trucker over the upcoming months.

FMCSA Considering Sleep Apnea Rule

The FMCSA announced that they are seeking feedback about sleep apnea in commercial vehicle drivers as an initial move towards a ruling on the condition. Basically, the rule could mean transportation workers in safety sensitive positions who exhibit multiple risk factors for sleep apnea would undergo evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders.

Are you going to MATS? See ya there!

In case you missed it on social media, we’re headed to the Mid-America Trucking Show March 31st - April 2nd! We’ll be giving out FREE tickets to the show, which you can claim here. Keep an eye out for cool prizes and the inside scoop on the latest ExpressTruckTax and TruckLogics developments.

What is Alice Isn’t Dead?

There’s a new podcast shooting to the top of the iTunes charts—and it’s about a trucker! Alice Isn’t Dead follows a truck driver on a quest to find her wife, who was presumed dead. Along the way, the trucker meets unsavory characters, ghost towns, and uncovers a dark conspiracy.

Are you ready to file your Personal Taxes?

Don’t forget, Trucking Nation, your personal taxes are due Monday, April 18th. If you’re not ready to file, head over to ExpressExtension to e-file a personal tax extension! Normally, your tax deadline would be April 15th, but that is Emancipation Day, which will be celebrated as a government holiday in Washington, D.C. So, the tax deadline was moved to Monday. (Hey, it gives you more time!) And that’s okay with us. By the way, make sure you don’t miss out on any trucker specific deductions.

There’s an IFTA Deadline, and there’s a HVUT Deadline

Don’t forget, deadlines are approaching! The 1st Quarter of IFTA ends in March, so you’ll have a payment due in April. And summer is almost here, so your 2290s are only months away. Get a head start now!

There’s always something happening in the trucking world. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest transportation news. Start planning your finances and truck taxes now, and we’ll see you at MATS later this month!

Don’t forget, our dedicated customer support team is here to answer any of your HVUT 2290 filing questions! You can reach them by phone at 704.234.6005, live chat via our website, or email at support@expresstrucktax.com.



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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quick Tips to Reduce Trucker Stress

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When you’re on the road, things can get pretty stressful. You’ve got crazed four-wheelers darting around your rig, dispatchers asking you to bend some rules, and some upcoming tax forms you’ve been avoiding. You can’t get rid of all those stressful factors, but you can find creative outlets to help you reduce how they affect you.

Stress happens for different reasons, and there are an assortment of ways to combat it. Here are a few tips we suggest.

Reduce Stressful Paperwork

Want to ditch the stress of tax filing? Well, just e-file your HVUT 2290s with ExpressTruckTax! We’re known as the easiest way to e-file your heavy vehicle use taxes, and we pride ourselves on our helpful customer support team. Best of all, after filing with us you will get your Stamped Schedule 1 within minutes! That way you can get back on the road.

Eat. Sleep. Lift.

Alright, alright. You’re tired of us hammering this point home. But we’re gonna stick with it, because your health is important! In short, you need to sleep more, eat better, and exercise regularly.

Does it sound like we’re constantly telling you to sleep more? Well, we are! Sleep recharges your body and helps you sort things out in your life. When you get more sleep, you’re going to be a more alert, safer driver. Your moods will also be more positive as a whole. And we’re not saying you’re eating unhealthy, but most truckers have a reputation for eating some bad foods. The solution? Avoid fast food and junk food and eat healthy foods! And of course, find time to exercise. You can store away weights or use your resources.


Stay on Time with Reminders

Tired of deadlines looming over your head? With RigMinders, you simply download the free app and let it run its course. As deadlines approach, RigMinders will remind you so that you don’t fall behind and get smacked with late penalties. The last thing you want is to pay a late fine, right?


Reduce Stress with a Hobby

You’re all over the country, seeing more of the United States than most people ever will. If you’re looking for a good hobby to help you relieve stress, try photography! Come on, you come across all those open skies and lonely roads—perfect for a camera lens. Not much of the visual artist type? Perhaps you could bring a guitar and try your hand at a good old fashion traveling song.

You already know how to stay entertained with your phone, tablet, and laptop computer. But not many truckers know that using these tools for stress relief is another great option! By using these same gadgets, you can connect to loved ones back home, run truck management software like TruckLogics, maintain a truck driving YouTube channel, or even educate yourself with free online courses.

And if you ever get stressed filing, reach out to our dedicated, bilingual support team! We’re available by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expresstrucktax.com, and by live chat on our website!

How do you reduce stress while on the road? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook!


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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep is important. Yeah, you’ve heard it a billion times before. And from a safety standpoint, it’s a matter of life and death. Wait, what? Well, if you’re an OTR trucker, a decrease in sleep can lead to an increase in fatal trucking accidents. Add that to the health issues, and you have the perfect storm to bring a trucker down.

Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you wake several times during long sleep periods? Do you take frequent naps? Are you always tired? You probably have a sleep disorder. Now, you might think you’re indestructible, but let’s talk about how this affects you and what you can do.

18 Wheels of Safety

There are plenty of reasons why auto accidents happen – but we’re here to focus on sleep deprivation as a factor. Drowsy driving increases accidents and near misses for any driver on the road. The difference between you and a four-wheeler is you’re an 80,000 pound missile on wheels when you lose control. When you’re drowsy, your reaction time is slowed down, and you will rationalize bad decisions that endanger you and other truckers.

Most accidents occur during the hours of midnight to 2 a.m., 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. How does this impact trucking? Well, this factor is huge for commercial drivers – especially long-haul drivers – because at least 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve driver fatigue.

Health on the Highway

We’ve talked about health and fitness many times, but sleep is just as important. When you lose sleep, your body’s defenses are weakened. This increases your risk for infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes. When you’re sleep deprived, your appetite increases, leading to overeating and obesity.

What’s the Best Way to Sleep?

How you approach sleep matters, so take extra precautions for your health. Use curtains, truck shades, or an eye mask to block out light. Cover noise with a fan or a white noise machine. Make sure your cab or bedroom is a comfortable, cool temperature. And make sure you have a comfy mattress, pillow, and bedding. Make sure you’re parked in a quiet, but safe area.

While you might be tempted to hydrate before bed, avoiding liquids will keep you from having to get up in the middle of the night. Keep your distance from stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. Avoid heavy and spicy foods, and stop eating 2-3 hours before bed. Don’t forget, exposure to blue light from electronics will trick your brain into thinking you’re awake.

What Should I Do Now?

Well, if you notice any of the symptoms of sleep apnea or insomnia, contact a doctor. Make sure you’re firm with family, friends, and dispatchers about your sleep issues, when you’ll be sleeping, and that you want to avoid interruptions.

Your health and safety are vital to your job, so don’t let sleep deprivation get the best of you! You have enough to worry about with wintery roads, 2290s, and IFTA deadlines! And If you need any help on your truck tax filings, contact us by phone or email.

How do you prepare for sleep when you’re on the road? Let us know in the comments and on Facebook!


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