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Poor truck driver health linked with higher accident rates

Maintaining good health can be difficult for truck drivers in Florida and around the country. Operating a motor vehicle is relatively sedentary work, and speed and flavor trump health and nutrition at many roadside restaurants and truck stops. Experts have voiced concerns in recent years about the road safety implications of the nation's growing obesity problem, and the way that these issues could impact the logistics industry was recently by researchers from the University of Utah. The findings of the research were published in January in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The researchers first compiled a list of medical conditions that have been found to influence driving performance, and they then looked for these conditions in the medical records of 49,464 commercial truck drivers. Severe lower back pain, diabetes, obesity and heart disease can make it far more difficult to keep trucks weighing up to 40 tons under control, and the researchers say that more than a third of the truck drivers studied suffered from at least one such condition.

When the crash records of the drivers involved were scrutinized, the researchers found that those who suffered from three or more of the medical conditions identified were involved in crashes about three times as often as healthy drivers. The researchers adjusted their results to compensate for other factors such as age and experience, and they found a clear link between declining truck driver health and higher accident rates.

When trucking accidents are caused by truck drivers who suffered some sort of medical emergency or were incapable of controlling their vehicles safely due to health issues, attorneys who are representing occupants of other vehicles who were injured might want to seek compensation from the trucking company involved. Truck operators are expected to do all that they reasonably can to protect other road users, and attorneys could argue that allowing drivers with known medical conditions behind the wheel violates this duty of care.

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