There are many things that contribute to trucking accidents in Hollywood and other communities. Driver error, mechanical failure, and poor road design, for example, all contribute to their fair share of traffic crashes each year. However, one factor that causes many collisions is often overlooked: driver health.
The reality is that chronic health conditions can have a big impact on how safely truck drivers can handle their jobs. In addition, the very job itself can have a negative impact on health. The sedentary nature of the job, the stress of the job, and the fast food that is often available on the road can put drivers at risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiac issues, and other serious health concerns.
How Serious is the Problem?
Studies point out that truck drivers may have a higher risk for some health conditions. A study published the American Journal of Industrial Medicine concluded that 68.9 percent of truck drivers studies were obese and 17.4 percent were morbidly obese. In comparison, the general population has an obesity rate of 30.5 percent, with 7.3 of the country being morbidly obese. The same study found that truck drivers are twice as likely to be smokers when compared with the rest of the population and are more than twice as likely to suffer from diabetes. According to the study, truck drivers have a higher risk of psychiatric illness, back pain, and musculoskeletal problems. They are also more likely to get delayed treatment or lack access to treatment.
It is disturbing that more is not done to help truck drivers lead healthier lives and enjoy better cars. It is also troubling the ways that poor health can affect a driver’s ability to stay safe on the roads. Numerous studies and reports have already found that fatigued driving in Hollywood and other U.S. communities leads to motor vehicle crashes, but the role of health is not often explored in those reports. How many instances of fatigued driving can be linked to poor driver health? According to sleep and safety experts, fatigue can stem from a number of health problems, including heart issues, sleep apnea, and other conditions. Tackling truck driver health could help reduce instances of fatigued driving. In addition, it could also address the number of accidents caused by truck drivers having a medical emergency while driving.
What can be Done?
While acknowledging the problem is a good first step, something needs to be done to tackle driver health. Already, some organizations are taking action to prevent trucking collisions caused by poor driver health. Some trucking companies, for example, have launched wellness and health campaigns for their drivers. These programs offer screening, risk assessments, health coaching, and sometimes easier access to health care.
Some experts, however, note that any solution for drivers needs to be mobile to reflect the fact that many drivers spend so many hours on the road. For example, programs on smart phones can be used to help drivers keep track of sleep and eating habits or can guide them to clinics or health centers wherever they are on the road. Other experts suggest that making health stations available near weigh stations or rest stops would make it easier for drivers to get health help when needed.
The attorneys at Flaxman Law Group believe that everyone has a role to play in preventing trucking accidents. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, do not hesitate in calling our law firm for a free case consultation.