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Data Show Drowsiness Runs Up the Score Against Sanitation Truck Drivers in Football Season

Mondays and Tuesdays in the fall are bad days for trash truck drivers. A San Diego company has data to prove it.

Sanitation workers get into more collisions and experience more near-misses related to drowsy driving on days that follow pro football games, according to Lytx Inc., one of several vendors that make systems that monitor the behavior of truck drivers.

The Lytx study reviewed the behaviors of 33,000 drivers in the five largest private waste companies in the United States from 2012 to 2016. From August to November, there was a 53 percent increase in drowsy driving or falling-asleep driving events among waste drivers. On Mondays and Tuesdays during football season the figures were higher — there was a 78 percent increase over the rest of the year.

Things seemed to go more haywire in 2016.

Data from August to November 2016 showed a 112 percent increase in drowsy driving or falling-asleep driving events among waste drivers over the rest of the year. Mondays and Tuesday during those four months saw a 170 percent spike.

Waste truck drivers often begin their work shifts before the sun comes up. The beginning of the school year in the fall also complicates life.

It could be that companies need to encourage their drivers to get more sleep on football nights, one Lytx executive said.

In addition to private haulers, dozens of municipal waste fleets use the Lytx DriveCam program.

Lytx also said it had data showing that a less common spectacle — the solar eclipse of Aug. 21 — affected all sorts of drivers. The data showed more drivers pulled off the road on the day of the event, and showed more incidents of speeding, indicating drivers were trying to make up time.

The company reviewed driver data from Aug. 21, comparing it with a series of Mondays before it.

Lytx made both announcements during the last half of August. A Chicago-based private equity firm, GTCR, bought Lytx in spring 2016 for $550 million.


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