According to local taxi drivers, falling asleep at the wheel is a very common occurrence.
Long hours and sedentary conditions are perennial health hazards among taxi drivers here, many of whom work beyond the 12 hours per day recommended by the Manpower Ministry.
A National University of Singapore survey among 231 taxi drivers reported that 1 in 3 of these drivers experienced fatigue while driving, and that many of those who worked longer hours or more than 10 hours a day, reported dozing off at the wheel inadvertently. More than 50% of the drivers surveyed said that they do not take any time off.
Researchers also found that those who dozed off at the wheel tended to report poor sleep quality, have another part time job or consume more than 3 caffeinated drinks daily.
Taxi drivers also reported higher incidences of chronic ailments relative to the general population in Singapore, such as hypertension, diabetes and heightened cholesterol.
The National Taxi Association (NTA) said that taxi drivers here drive long hours to cover high overhead costs. Rent and fuel can go up to $190 a day, which is the equivalent of about 30 trips for some taxi drivers.
Taxi drivers may also sacrifice sleep to be with their families and fulfill other commitments.
It was previously reported in the news that Tan Chuan Jin said that drivers who worked double shifts daily could earn an income of up to $5,993. See the article here.