Research/studies Worker health and wellness Trucking Transportation

Truckers’ medical conditions can increase crash risk: study

truck driver

Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Salt Lake City – Commercial truck drivers who have at least three health issues have as much as quadruple the crash risk of healthier drivers, according to a study from the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Truck drivers often have difficulty staying healthy because they tend to sit for long periods of time and sleep and eat poorly, the study states.

Researchers examined medical records for nearly 50,000 commercial truck drivers, 34 percent of whom had signs of one or more health issues associated with poor driving performance, such as heart disease, low back pain and diabetes. The researchers also looked at drivers’ crash histories and found that drivers who had a minimum of three of the “flagged conditions” were more likely to have been involved in a crash.

The crash rate involving injury among all drivers was 29 per 100 million miles traveled. The rate rose to 93 per 100 million miles traveled for drivers with at least three ailments. Researchers took into account other factors that can impact driving abilities, such as age and amount of commercial driving experience.

“What these data are telling us is that with decreasing health comes increased crash risk, including crashes that truck drivers could prevent,” Matthew Thiese, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, said in a press release.

The study was published online Jan. 10 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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