Having a healthy way of life can be very difficult for truckers because they spend long hours behind the wheel driving and don´t have time to take care of their bodies, have a nutritious and balanced meals, exercise or to even rest and sleep properly.
Those habits can help to develop different diseases, which can not only affect truckers’ wellbeing and safety on the roads but can also impact the lives of other people. A research from the University of Utah School of Medicine, published in the JOEM, was performed in order to discover the crash risks for truckers with various medical conditions.
The research identified that high pulse pressure and fatigue which are poor health management’s indicators, were highly related to truck driving crash risks. The study also highlighted that a trucker’s health was not handled appropriately. 797 long haul truck drivers were surveyed and after a physical exam approximately 24% of them had high blood pressure and weren’t previously diagnosed or neither treated medically.
The researchers discovered that 62% of the surveyed were obese, a high rate comparing to 35% of the general adult population, in accordance to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The examination of 49,464 truckers’ medical records identified that 34% have signals of, at minimum, one of the different diseases that had previously been connected to poor driving performance, such diabetes, low back pain, heart disease, etc.
Matching trucker crashes and their medical histories exposed the conclusion that drivers with at least three medical conditions, were more likely to have been implicated in an accident. 82 truckers occupied the highest risk group for diverse categories of accidents, including crashes that result in injury and could have been prevented.
The findings consider that health conditions can be manageable but when they are paired with another disease, it could significantly increase a trucker’s risk. Besides hypertension and fatigue, another great concern for many truckers is developing Type 2 diabetes. Not only will their health deteriorate but will also effect their qualification to get a CDL. Mental diseases, drug addiction and alcoholism should not be ignored either.
These findings demonstrates the importance for truck drivers to maintain great health but also for fleet companies to invest and promote their drivers’ wellbeing in the company through initiatives such as providing fitness and diet trainers, gyms facilities, apnea tests and much more.