Research/studies Trucking

Job, lifestyle factors may increase crash risk for truck drivers: study

truck driver getting off truck

Photo: STEFANOLUNARDI/iStockphoto

Salt Lake City – Truck drivers who are often tired after work, use cell phones when driving, or have a high pulse pressure may be at a greater risk for crashes, according to a study from the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Researchers surveyed nearly 800 truck drivers at truck stops and truck shows in six states to identify lifestyle and job factors that may affect crash risk. The drivers underwent a physical exam and answered questions about their crash history, health, and occupational and lifestyle factors.

“Modifiable factors” were connected to crashes, indicating interventions may lower crash risk, researchers concluded. Pulse pressure – a measure of blood pressure and possible indicator of heart disease – cell phone use and fatigue after work were most consistently linked to crash histories. Lifestyle factors connected to crashes included older age, advanced driving experience, male gender, alcohol use, low back pain, heart disease and “feeling tense,” the study abstract states.

Of the truck drivers with high blood pressure, almost 24 percent had not been previously diagnosed and were not undergoing treatment. In addition, 62 percent of the participants were obese.

The study was published in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.