Health and fitness have become high-priority in all segments of society. Even here at TruckAccidents.com we put an emphasis on employee health. So it should come as little surprise that the commercial trucking industry is feeling the impact too.
Plenty has been written about the importance of truck drivers maintaining good health. Truck stop gyms have begun to appear at stops across the country. Now more evidence draws a connection between truck driver health and crash risks with the release of a recent study by the University of Minnesota. The study indicates that severely obese truck drivers – who are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea – are more likely than their colleagues to be involved in a preventable crash during their first two years on the job.
The study looked at the body mass index ratings of more than 700 truck drivers. Those with a BMI of 35 or higher were deemed “severely obese,” and were found to be 54% more likely to be involved in a crash.
Officials at Minnesota who guided the research project went on to conclude that obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes sufferers to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, was likely to blame for the heightened crash risk. Studies analyzing the connection between crash risks and sleep apnea continue, but government regulators have already recognized that a link does exist.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering action, and plans to call for screenings that will detect whether obese truck drivers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The FMCSA plan would also prevent sleep apnea sufferers from driving commercial rigs until they receive treatment for the condition.
This is welcome news, for the well-being of truck drivers and the safety of everybody on the roads.
Were you involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle? Contact truck accident attorney Michael Leizerman at 800-628-4500.