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Federal Study Urges Spotlight on Truck Driver Health

Monday, February 24, 2014

The health of commercial trucking drivers doesn't normally receive a lot of attention in the media, although the accidents that are caused when unfit drivers doze off at the wheel, or have a medical emergency, do make the headlines. Burbank trucking accident lawyers find that the commercial trucking driver population is at a high risk of poor health, because of a number of factors. A new study that was conducted recently by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that a high incidence of several lifestyle-related conditions in commercial trucking drivers, including obesity, hypertension, and a number of other cardiovascular conditions.

The study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health actually found that long-haul truck drivers in this country have a risk of being obese that is twice as high compared to the general adult population. This population was also much more likely to be at risk for smoking, and other risk factors for chronic disease, including hypertension. About 69% of the drivers studied as part of the research were reported as being obese, while 54% smoked, and 88% reported at least one risk factor for chronic disease. In the general population, just about 54% had a minimum of one risk factor for chronic disease.

Truck driver health is a major safety concern because a truck driver, who is obese, suffering from hypertension, diabetes, or any other kind of medical condition, is more likely to have a medical emergency at the wheel. An emergency like this can cause an accident with catastrophic consequences not just for the truck driver, but also other motorists on the road. Besides, obesity contributes to a sleep condition called sleep apnea, which contributes to fatigue and could lead to a truck driver dozing off at the wheel, increasing the risk of being involved in an accident.


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