Yesterday, our Chicago semi truck accident attorneys read a report on Statesman.com discussing the common link between a semi truck driver’s health and their driving ability. With over 86% of the nation’s 3.2 million truck drivers overweight or obese, driver health has become a terrible problem in the trucking industry. The article reports that not only is truck driver health an issue for truck drivers, but also for anyone who travels the roadway with them. Research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revealed that 87% of accidents involving large commercial vehicle drivers was a direct result of various types of driver error. Of that percentage, 12% of semi truck accidents were because the driver fell asleep, had a heart attack, was in diabetic shock, and/or had another type of health problem.
The article continues to go into detail and discusses that even though the United States Department of Transportation requires commercial vehicle driver license holders to regularly pass a medical exam every two years, many driver are found to be in extremely poor physical conditions. During these medical exams, truck drivers are check for various medical ailments, including: severe heart conditions, high blood pressure and respiratory maladies (i.e. sleep disorders). Given the increasingly poor health conditions and rising insurance costs, trucking carriers and industry groups have been on a crusade to curb this increasing epidemic and fix driver habits.
With preventable semi truck accidents commonly attributed to truck drivers who were tired, diagnosed with sleep apnea or physically unfit, transportation carriers have developed initiatives that encourage truck drivers to lose weight, get in shape, as well as, improve overall health. Some of the initiatives trucking carriers are implementing include: conducting health seminars for truckers, constructing on-site work out facilities, bringing in nutritionists and fitness trainers to work with drivers and even offering drivers financial incentives to stop smoking and lose weight.
Our Chicago truck accident lawyers commend the efforts of trucking carriers for encouraging healthier practices for their commercial vehicle drivers. When a healthier lifestyle is taught and encouraged, it allows drivers to safely perform the demanding job of operating a large commercial vehicle, as well as, keep our roadways safe. With over 5,000 fatalities resulting from semi truck accidents in 2010 and over 100,000 sustaining serious injury – according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, any measure taken to help prevent these life-altering accidents and make our roadways a safer place to travel is highly beneficial.