November 28, 2014
Drivers’ Health – Risks
Like other careers, truck driving is not without its risks. Owing to the number of miles truckers drive, the obvious danger is being involved in a major crash. In North America, it is estimated that 20% of truck crashes are the direct result of over worked, fatigued drivers.
The risks however, go much further than just the obvious: an irregular schedule, sitting for long periods of time, bending and lifting heavy objects, stress, fatigue and the inability to eat properly maintained meals can lead to serious health issues for drivers.
Truck drivers are at more risk than the average Canadian for a number of health problems. Poor diet consisting mainly of processed food contributes to obesity. Consequently, being overweight brings with it a whole host of other preventable diseases. Approximately one in four truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea (a disorder that interferes with breathing during sleep, leaving a person groggy and exhausted owing to the fact that they haven’t slept well).
Half of drivers continue to smoke, eat a lot of fast food, sit for extended periods and don’t exercise. As a result, many truck drivers suffer from high blood pressure and chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
A significant number of drivers unload the freight of their trucks transport, thus putting them at a higher risk for back injuries.
In British Columbia drivers are tested every five years to maintain their licenses, and at lesser intervals as they mature. Waivers can be granted, but generally commercial drivers can’t be licensed if they have severe blood pressure or severe heart conditions.
Simple steps can insure a path to better health:
- Learn the signs of a heart attack and stroke. Consult your physician if you feel you are at risk.
- Learn exercises that you can do while out on the road.
- Through exercise, diet, and proper rest, a person can control her blood pressure & cholesterol.
- Make healthy fast food choices. Purchase a cooler to store fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks while working on the road.
- If you smoke, consult your physician and other support groups to help you to quit.
The road to health can be challenging, as is any life change. Life on the road is hectic….but with the right mind set, assistance and support from your family, you too can experience better health.
(Photo by William Murphy / CC BY)