A new survey finds the vast majority of truckers believe their work is both physically and emotionally challenging.
The survey by DAT Freight & Analytics found nearly 75% of drivers who responded said their jobs are physically and emotionally stressful, but few drivers are able to take care of their well-being and seek support when needed.
The survey of 504 truck drivers, 337 of whom are owner-operators, revealed the conditions that lead to stress on the road:
- Drivers miss time with friends and family: 54% of truck drivers spend less than 24 hours a week at home.
- Drivers have a long workweek: 33% of drivers are driving more than 49 hours a week.
- Nutrition is a challenge: 63% of truckers cook meals in their truck two to six days a week, and 37% eat fast food two to three days a week.
- Long hours make it difficult to manage sleep and exercise: 63% of truckers sleep 6 hours or less per night, and 38% of truck drivers say they take medication to help them sleep.
The survey also examined how truck drivers manage their mental health. Nearly 46% of respondents said access to mental health services would be an effective way to help them manage stress. However, only 40% of male drivers said they would consider speaking with a counselor or therapist about their emotions and experiences, compared to 58% of female drivers.
“As the country prepares for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week from Sept. 10-16, and celebrates the vital role of truck drivers in our economy, the DAT survey results show why it’s important to empathize with the challenges they face in their personal and professional lives,” said Jeff Hopper, Chief Marketing Officer at DAT.
“Many truck drivers develop strategies to manage the long hours, isolation, and health issues that come with the job," he said. "However, finding suitable places for sleep, healthy meals, and other necessities are constant challenges."
The DAT survey was conducted by Censuswide, and information was collected from a sample of 504 U.S. truck drivers in 2023. Of the 504 respondents, 438 were men; 64 were women.