The sedentary nature of truck drivers’ jobs increases their incidence of health problems which, in turn, raises the probability of them causing a motor vehicle accident. Truck drivers are forced to sit for lengthy time periods, and the nature of their jobs also make them likelier to have poor sleeping and eating habits. The combination of these characteristics results in truck drivers developing medical problems at higher rates than others. A recent study showed that drivers who have three medical conditions are four times as likely to be involved in accidents than do healthier drivers. Accident lawyers represent victims who have been injured by truck drivers whose medical problems lead them to cause trucking accidents.
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Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine noted several medical conditions that cause drivers to have poorer driving performances. These conditions include low back problems, diabetes, heart disease and others. The researchers then reviewed the records of 50,000 commercial drivers. They found that 34 percent of the drivers suffered from at least one of the conditions with some suffering from more than one. When the researchers compared the drivers’ medical histories with their accident records, they found that drivers who suffered from three of the medical conditions had up to four times greater likelihood of crash involvement than did healthier drivers.
Among drivers overall, the crash rate was 39 wrecks for every one hundred million miles traveled. Among truck drivers who suffered from three or more flagged medical conditions, the crash rate was 93 wrecks for every one hundred million miles traveled. The researchers controlled for other factors that may also lead to accidents in the study, including experience and age.
What Can Be Done?
Accident lawyers believe that more can be done to both help prevent work-related diseases in truck drivers as well as to prevent truck accidents caused by poor health. Truck drivers should have preventative medical care available to help them avoid developing these conditions. Regulations should be passed to encourage better sleep and to provide more frequent breaks. Carriers should provide opportunities to truck drivers to participate in regular exercise and should encourage healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, the current political climate is trending towards reducing the number of trucking regulations, meaning that the causes of these accidents are unlikely to be meaningfully addressed.
The Ankin Law represents injured plaintiffs in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases.