A study reveals that 50% of truck drivers admit driving even when they are tired or sleepy

NEW DELHI: Almost half of the truck Drivers drive vehicles even if they feel tired or sleepy and, on average, each of them drives for approximately 11.9 hours in a day, according to a recent survey of 10 cities. More than a fifth of the drivers in this survey also admitted having taken some drugs during trips.

This first of its kind detailed report “Status of Truck Drivers in India” prepared by SaveLife Foundation has also estimated that currently truck drivers and fleet owners pay around Rs 47,852 crore annually as bribe to different departments and a large chunk of it goes to police. In 2006-07, International Transparency had estimated the bribe paid in the truck ing industry around Rs 22,048 crore.

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The survey based on detailed interview covered 1,217 truck drivers and 101 fleet owners across cities of Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kanpur, Vijayawada and Guwahati. In the survey, nine out of 10 respondents confessed they did not undergo any formal training before getting a driving licence. The cities were selected based on report ed crashes caused by heavy motor vehicles and the number of such vehicles in operation.

The report also highlights the plight of drivers who transport over 60% of country’s total freight. It found that nearly 53% of respondents are dissatisfied with their profession and about 84% said they will not recommend truck ing to their family members or relatives. Two-third of the drivers feel the profession is unattractive due to the lack of security and safety on the road.

Overall, more than two-third (67.1%) of the respondents said they are overburdened with assignments, and so they resort to speeding to deliver their assignments on time. About 41% of the drivers said they were carrying vegetables, food items and perishable goods while around 18% of the truck drivers were carrying goods like steel/ iron whereas 11.8% were carrying electronic goods.

Almost 90% of them also admitted that they did not undergo any formal training before obtaining a driver's license.

In Delhi, about 58% of respondents report ed deterioration in the quality of life in past 10 years and 73% said their working conditions are bad.

The report has recommended that truck drivers should be grouped under a formal remuneration structure along with mandatory social security benefits and there should be strict compliance of working hours.

According to the latest road accident report of transport ministry, over 15,000 road crash victims have been truck and lorry drivers. In terms of vehicle category, truck s and lorries are involved in over 57,000 crashes.