Anyone in the fleet industry knows that trucking is a difficult job. It involves long hours spent in irregular shifts, which can be immensely stressful on the body. Of course, truckers can lead a healthy lifestyle. However, you must first be aware of the health risks before you can combat them. Let’s explore nine health risks of trucking and how truckers can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
9 Driver Health Risks
In this section, we’ll break down nine health risks that truck drivers must look out for. If you’re a trucker, you should monitor your physical health and visit the doctor regularly. If you supervise truckers, you should encourage them to do so.
No. 1: Obesity
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults should engage in 2.5 hours of intense exercise every week. However, drivers who spend most of their time in their vehicles often find it difficult to achieve this goal. Little access to cooking amenities leads to an unhealthy diet as well. Combined, these factors contribute to an obesity problem in the trucking community. Nearly 70% of truckers are obese – more than twice the national average.
No. 2: Back and Neck Injuries
A truck doesn’t provide much room to move around in, and people often underestimate the necessity of stretching. When you sit in a vehicle for hours without stretching, you will likely have stiff and sore muscles. To ease your pain, you may slump into a more comfortable position. This results in problems over time, like neck and back pain.
No. 3: Accident Risk
Logically, the more time you spend behind the wheel, the more likely you will be in an accident. Furthermore, drivers who spend hours on the road are more likely to fall victim to fatigue. Check out our blog article highlighting driver fatigue stats to learn precisely how dangerous it is.
No. 4: Exposure to Hazardous Materials
Drivers are exposed to diesel and gasoline fumes more than most individuals. Exposure to these toxic fumes can damage the lungs and impede breathing. It can even lead to lung cancer.
No. 5: Musculoskeletal Injuries
We mentioned earlier that drivers often don’t exercise as much as they should. This lack of movement can cause muscles to become weaker. Weaker muscles are more likely to become sprained or strained. Drivers may experience muscle spasms more commonly and can experience permanent damage.
No. 6: Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is prevalent among truck drivers. One third of all truck drivers suffer from it. This problem can stem from obesity or lack of stretching or exercise. Sleep apnea prevents drivers from getting the proper rest they need, which leads to a whole other slew of health problems.
No. 7: Stimulant Use
Drivers often use stimulants to keep themselves awake and alert. One of the most problematic of these is cigarettes. While only 19% of Americans smoke, 51% of long-haul truckers do so. The dangers of smoking are clear and only exacerbate the other risks of truck driving.
No. 8: Depression and Loneliness
Truckers spend a lot of time alone on the road. This isolation can have a significant impact on one’s mental health. Depression is a serious disease that can lead to other issues mentioned in this article, particularly poor sleep and eating habits. It can even lead to mood changes and suicidal thoughts and actions.
No. 9: Neglect of Healthcare
Truckers typically have less time off than the average worker. When they do have a break, they often spend it resting or with friends and family. They rarely want to spend it at a doctor’s office. This problem is compounded if they don’t have benefits that support their needs. Truckers require regular screenings to catch the problems mentioned in this article, as well as any other health risks.
Ensure Your Drivers’ Safety
The two most important things a driver can do are implement healthy eating, regular sleep, and weekly exercise into their schedules. As a fleet manager, you can help your drivers by enacting work schedules that are as consistent as you can make them. If you can create shorter shifts that give drivers more time at home with their families, it will also greatly benefit their mental health.
Azuga can help you boost your fleet’s productivity to get the most out of your drivers’ shifts. This will make it easier to streamline their schedules. Speak with an expert today about your goals and see how we can help you accomplish them.
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