Truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons, including operator error and lack of vehicle maintenance. If truckers are not healthy enough to maintain control of their vehicles, though, they may also pose a risk to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and others on the road.
A recent study from Appalachian State University found long-haul truckers have a greater chance of developing cardiometabolic disease than other Americans. Cardiometabolic disease is a collective name for a group of medical conditions that includes heart attack, diabetes, stroke and fatty liver disease.
Limited access to healthy foods
Long-haul truckers often spend thousands of hours each year behind the wheel. When away from home, these truckers may have limited access to healthy foods. To meet tight pickup and delivery time frames, truckers may opt for unhealthy options at truck stops or fast-food restaurants. Unfortunately, eating a poor-quality diet may contribute to obesity, which has a direct link to cardiometabolic disease.
Uncomfortable sleeping arrangements
Most nights, many long-haul truckers cannot sleep in their own beds. Even though some semi-trucks have sleep compartments, truckers simply may not receive enough quality rest. The ASU researchers hypothesize a lack of rest may increase a trucker’s risk of developing cardiometabolic disease. Regardless, insufficient rest may also lead to drowsy driving which may be as dangerous as drunk driving.
Low physical activity
Even though driving a tractor-trailer takes skill, it usually does not require much physical exertion. If long-haul truckers do not engage in regular physical activity, they may be vulnerable to cardiometabolic disease. Regrettably, long-haul trucking often leaves little time for physical exercise.
All truckers have a duty to remain healthy enough to drive safely and responsibly. Ultimately, if a trucker’s cardiometabolic disease causes a crash that injures you, you may be eligible for substantial compensation from the trucker and trucking company.