A study conducted by the University of Utah School of Medicine has alarming implications for commercial truckers. Having three common health conditions significantly increases the risk of workplace truck accidents. Researchers with the University of Utah examined the health records and crash histories of 49,464 truckers.
According to the results of the study, truckers with lower back pain, heart disease and diabetes were at much higher risk of crashing. Truckers who had all three conditions had a four-fold risk of crashing. Of the 49,464 truckers analyzed in the study, 34 percent had at least one of the conditions. Researchers claim truckers develop these three health conditions for several reasons:
It is difficult for truckers to find nutritious meals on the road.
Truckers routinely experience poor sleeping conditions.
Driving a commercial truck (especially interstate) involves long periods of sitting
Poor diet can lead to diabetes, which may cause sleep apnea, a condition multiple studies have linked to truck accidents. A Harvard study from last year found truckers with untreated sleep apnea have a fivefold risk of crashing.
Truckers and commercial carriers should take the health of drivers seriously, and perhaps institute programs that can prevent these conditions from developing.
Should Truckers Focus on Improving Their Health?
There are ways to eat healthy on the road, even if stops have little to offer. Truckers with fridges in their cabins can stock healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables. For truckers without this option, some eateries offer healthy food items on their menus. It is also important to continue these healthy eating habits at home.
Exercise and diet are equally important. For truckers, short bursts of exercise each day can help improve health. Truckers can pack a jump rope or free weights to use on a daily basis.