Unhealthy Truckers - An Accident Waiting to Happen?
It's well known throughout the industry that truckers have health problems. Around 70% of drivers are obese. When you spend 11 hours a day behind the wheel, it's not exactly easy to find time for exercise, nevertheless a nutritious meal while on the road.
Factor in that it's one of the loneliest jobs in the country, and it might start to make sense why many drivers find comfort in eating.
According to a new study developed by the University of Utah School of Medicine, truckers in poor health just might be an accident waiting to happen.
Researchers examined data from more than 49,000 commercial truck drivers and found that 34% had at least one of several health problems, including heart disease, low back pain and diabetes, that have been linked with poor driving performance.
Truck drivers with three or more of the flagged medical conditions were two to four times more likely to be in a crash than much healthier drivers.
For example, the rate of crashes resulting in injury among all truck drivers was 29 per 100 million miles traveled.
Drivers with three or more of the identified health problems had a rate of 93 crashes per 100 million miles traveled.
The main findings, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, suggest that a professional driver’s poor health could be a detriment to other road users as well as to themselves.
These findings included drivers that typically sit for long hours behind the wheel, have poor sleeping conditions and often have less than nutritious foods.
The study’s senior author, Dr. Kurt Hegamann, director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, said, “If we can better understand the interplay between driver health and crash risk, then we can better address safety concerns.”
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