Recently insurance company Travelers held a symposium focused on truck drive health and wellness issues. Some of the statistics discussed included these:
- Approximately 1/4th of the U.S. commercial truck drivers on America’s roads suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, resulting in a crash risk up to 11 times higher than among non-commercial truck drivers.
- Roughly seven in 10 long-haul truck drivers are clinically obese, two times more than other adult workers in the U.S.
- A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) case study issued last year examined the connection between truck driver body mass index (BMI) and fatigue also revealed that obese drivers are more likely to be involved in safety critical events than average weight counterparts.
- Medical and workers’ compensation claims pertaining to vehicle accidents cost nearly twice as much as the average work-related injury claim. The U.S. BLS also reported a 4.6 injury rate in the trucking transportation industry, versus a 3.6 average rate across all industries in 2014.
At issue is this: a driver’s health and wellness affects their work performance. Those in poor health have slower reaction times and, unfortunately, less focus and awareness when driving big rigs.
The symposium’s aim was to get people talking about health and wellness issues for truck drivers. If companies start investing in these issues, and everyone gets on board, positive changes can be made. It will involve everyone from top management to dispatchers and maintenance workers to truckers in order to improve the overall approach the trucking industry takes toward placing an emphasis on health and wellness.