Why Obese Truckers May Put All Motorists at Risk

by Jonathan Rosenfeld on Dec. 16, 2019

Accident & Injury Car Accident Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Overweight truck drivers not only pose a risk to themselves, but they also pose a risk to other motorists as they increase the chances of serious accidents.

Obese and overweight tractor-trailer truck drivers have a significantly higher risk of causing an accident, compared to truckers of average weight. The University of Minnesota conducted a study comparing the body mass index (BMI) of over 700 truck drivers. The study found that the significantly obese commercial motor vehicle truckers had nearly a 50% greater chance of causing a truck collision.

The researchers concluded that there were numerous factors related to obesity that increase the potential risk of crashes. These factors included limitations on mobility, excessive sleepiness during daylight hours, and ongoing fatigue.

Additionally, numerous health conditions have been linked to higher body mass index rates, like obstructive sleep apnea in all individuals, including truckers. This condition is known to affect the truckers' ability to maintain a restful sleep environment and have excessive sleepiness during daylight hours.

An Unhealthy Lifestyle

Living a trucker’s lifestyle can be plagued with many health issues, especially for those who are prone to specific health conditions. Many overweight truck drivers are prone to severe conditions, including hypertension, often caused by high-stress levels.

Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is difficult for many truckers to achieve. Weight problems are often associated with poor sleeping schedules and stress related to delivering essential goods across America.

Government Controls

Statistics maintained by the National Institute of Health revealed that nearly nine of ten truckers nationwide suffer from hypertension or pre-hypertension. This statistic is significantly higher than the national average of 58%.

The Department of Transportation enforces existing revelatory safeguards to control the national certified driver’s licenses. Every driver must pass a biannual DOT examination. This examination includes a comprehensive physical exam that involves biometrics and an assessment of the patient’s medical history.

Typically, the driver must maintain blood pressure parameters below 140/90. All truckers with diabetes must control their condition well without the need for insulin. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has started requiring truck fleets to document the health of every employee related to highway safety issues.

A Serious Health Crisis

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine published a report in 2014. The study noted that by 2010, nearly a third of all truckers, including garbage collectors and bus drivers, were obese. There are numerous tips to ensure that a trucker remains healthy while on the road. Some of these steps include:

  • Avoid Consuming Caffeine – Drinking coffee and other beverages with caffeine can help the trucker wake up to head out on the road. However, it is essential to avoid caffeinated products before napping. Too much caffeine can alter your sleep patterns.
  • Replace Unhealthy Beverages with Water – Keeping a bottle of purified or nutrient-enhanced water within reach can help you maintain hydration and give your digestive tract a break.
  • Take Vitamins and Supplements – Maintain your health with a daily dose of vitamin C tablets or capsules. This nutrient can help strengthen your body’s immune system and fight off viruses that affect your organs. Vitamin D also helps prevent unhealthy medical conditions, including hypertension.
  • Consume More Vegetables and Fruit – Consuming high fiber vegetables and fruit can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart conditions. Healthier living can help you avoid heart disease and some forms of cancer.
  • Exercise before Driving – Most truckers' lifestyles tend to be highly sedentary. Because of that, it is crucial to take quick power walks whenever available, including before getting out on the road each day.
  • Improve Socialization – The stress of the road can cause extreme loneliness. Because of that, it is crucial to socialize with others while out traveling. Many truckers join groups or call their families each day to maintain healthier relationships.
  • Quit Smoking – Smoking tobacco products create other long-term health problems and can exacerbate existing unhealthy habits, including overeating.

Improving the health of the driver is not without significant challenges. The extremely long working days and a highly stressed environment working through tight schedules can produce problems.

However, taking an aggressive approach to lose weight can be crucially necessary to avoid many of the medical conditions associated with obese truck driving. Being overweight could cause significant issues, including heart attacks, diabetes, narcotic addiction, and cancer. Even a few small changes can make a substantial difference in losing extra pounds and improving the quality of life.

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