Private Companies and the Federal Government Take Aim at Truckers’ Health

August 30, 2012
Private Companies and the Federal Government Take Aim at Truckers’ Health

Nearly 4,000 people die and 100,000 are injured each year in the United States in vehicle accidents involving large trucks. While some of these accidents are caused by poor road conditions or driver error, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that serious medical conditions of commercial vehicle drivers have “directly contributed to significant fatal and injury crashes.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports 12 percent of accidents involving tractor-trailers were caused by drivers who dozed off, had a heart attack, were in diabetic shock or had some other health problem.  Excessive weight can be a factor in all of these health conditions.

There are nearly 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, and according to a 2007 study in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 86 percent  are overweight or obese.  USA Today reports that transportation workers have an obesity rate of 37.8 percent — higher than any other U.S. industry.

Fitness Centers for Truckers Only

Now a company dedicated to helping truckers lose weight and improve their health is doing something about it.  Rolling Strong has partnered with Snap Fitness to open the first of five fitness facilities targeting tractor-trailer drivers.  The facility is located in the parking lot of a Pilot Flying J truck stop in Dallas.

The 1,000-square- foot, free-standing gym houses six weight machines, cardiovascular equipment, free weights and a cable cross machine, according to news reports.  The fitness center is open 24 hours to accommodate truckers’ extensive schedules.

"The ability to be able to get some cardiovascular training and help control their weight and be able to be in better health and get a workout in" can improve drivers’ careers and quality of life, said Bob Perry, president of Rolling Strong.

Snap Fitness representatives have said they “have no problem” opening many more trucker fitness centers if there is a demand for them.  Truckers who get a membership through Snap Fitness will have access to all Snap Fitness gyms.  Approximately 55 Snap gyms across the country can accommodate a big rig in the parking lot.

FMCSA Looks to Medical Examiners for Support

The FMCSA has initiated the Healthy Drivers: Safer Highways campaign to require medical examiners to be trained on FMCSA’s regulations and guidelines, the commercial vehicle driver’s role, and how certain medical conditions can impair a commercial vehicle driver.

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires drivers to pass a certifying medical exam every two years. The drivers’ vision, hearing and blood pressure are checked.  They are checked for heart conditions, respiratory illnesses and sleep disorders, and their medical history is reviewed with the physician or medical examiner.

“Through this initiative, we can increase the likelihood that CMV drivers on the road are mentally and physically able to perform their jobs safely,” said Anne S. Ferro, FMCSA Administrator. 

Healthy Michigan Truckers Make Safer Drivers

A truck driver may be responsible for controlling an 80,000-pound vehicle and getting a load of goods safely to its destination.  Drivers who are ill place  themselves and others at risk of an accident.  However, by lowering their weight and focusing on their health, the chances of a health-related accident goes down.

"Healthy drivers are absolutely safer drivers, safer for themselves and safer for the motoring public," said Greg Lehmkuhl, President of Con-way Freight, a trucking firm headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Lehmkuhl saw 2,500 employees, mostly truckers, lose an average of 13.5 pounds last year through the company’s wellness program. In addition, more than 200 quit smoking, and 4,700 reduced their blood pressure.

Our Michigan truck accident attorneys encourage truckers to take care of themselves and to focus on their health by taking advantage of fitness centers available to them.  We also ask owners of trucking companies to support their drivers as they take on this important health initiative.

Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a crash with a large truck in Michigan, you need legal advice as soon as possible - before you discuss the accident with an insurance adjuster or sign any papers.  The Michigan truck accident lawyers at The Michigan Injury Lawyers have represented many people injured in truck accidents and understand how extensive the injuries from these crashes can be.

Call the lawyers at The Michigan Injury Lawyers, P.C., at 866-319-4993 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case. If there is no recovery in your case, there is no fee for our services.