As a group, waste truck drivers appear to be big National Football League (NFL) fans, but unless they take measures to get adequate sleep, the return of the NFL season may translate to higher risk of collisions on their routes. This is according to Lytx Inc, a video telematics company, which saw a spike in drowsy driving incidents among waste drivers at the return of televised NFL games in a 4-year look-back at driving behavior in the waste industry.

Lytx delivers video-centered services that help improve the safety and efficiency of commercial and government fleets. Its services protect more than 650,000 drivers who drive more than 1 billion miles every 2 weeks. With its exception-based DriveCam video safety program, Lytx has analyzed more than 70 billion miles of driving behavior to help its clients predict and prevent collisions before they occur.

The Lytx DriveCam program is used by many of the major national waste companies as well as dozens of municipal waste fleets across the country to help keep their drivers’ safe driving skills sharp. In analyzing behaviors among drivers of 33,000 private waste vehicles from 2012 to 2016, the company noticed spikes in drowsy driving-related collisions and near-collisions on the Monday and Tuesday mornings following Sunday and Monday night televised NFL games compared to the rest of the year.

The 2016 NFL Season Was Particularly Risky

From 2012-2016, the August to November time frame, on average, saw a 53% increase in drowsy driving/falling asleep driving events over the rest of the year. Mondays and Tuesdays during the August to November time frame, on average, showed a 78% increase in drowsy driving/falling asleep driving events over the rest of the year.

Evaluating 2016 on its own, however, showed an even greater spike. August to November 2016, on average, showed a 112% increase in drowsy driving/falling asleep driving events among waste drivers over the rest of the year, while Mondays and Tuesdays during those four months saw, on average, a 170% spike.

“This study tells us that waste companies would benefit from encouraging their drivers to get more sleep on football nights,” says Lytx chief client officer Dave Riordan, in a release. “Since the start of football season coincides with the onset of back-to-school schedules, drivers are doubly-challenged to get a good night’s rest.”

Darrell Smith, president and CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Association, says, “Waste drivers have one of the toughest jobs in America, and on top of a strenuous work day, they tend to have very early shifts, heading out to make their rounds before the sun’s come up. Combine that with a late night of watching football, and the risk of drowsy driving is predictable—but solvable.”

This 2017 study reviewed the driving behaviors of 33,000 drivers of the 5 largest private waste companies in the United States from 2012 to 2016.