Sick to Death: Health Problems of Truck Drivers and How They Affect Accidents

Truck Drivers

If you’re a motorist in a passenger vehicle, you probably don’t think much about the health of a commercial truck driver on the road.

But the truth is that drivers who have a history of ailments such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and other chronic conditions can pose a serious risk to road safety. Here are some of the common health issues plaguing the commercial truck driving the industry.

High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Other Serious Medical Conditions

Commercial truck drivers, like the rest of us, can have various serious medical conditions which can affect how they react to incidents on the road.

For commercial truck drivers, these illnesses can be a hindrance to the effective performance of their duties, because the job often requires heavy lifting. Some medical conditions may slow their reaction time when they are faced with an unexpected event on the road. Drivers who are diabetic must be aware of their blood sugar levels to maintain peak performance.

Sleep Deprivation

The nature of commercial truck driving means spending long hours on the road to ensure the timely delivery of goods, and because most drivers are paid per-mile and not per hour, sleep deprivation is a chronic issue.

It’s not uncommon for drivers to ignore government-mandated rest periods in order to get to their delivery destination, but unlike with other occupations, sleep deprivation among truck drivers can become deadly.

Some drivers have reported that they are under a lot of pressure from their carriers to make deliveries on time. In fact, some carriers will dock a driver’s pay if a delivery is late, which creates significant motivation for drivers to keep operating their vehicles without adequate rest.

Sleep deprivation is a health issue that has been linked to increased bouts of irritability, anxiety, anger, loss of focus, lack of concentration and, of course, falling asleep in the middle of an activity.

Per an ABC News report, truckers often feel that they have to falsify their logbooks (a manual record that shows if they have complied with mandatory rest periods) to keep their bosses happy.

As a result, several major truck accidents have occurred due to exhausted drivers who spend too many consecutive hours behind the wheel.

These drivers fall into what Detroit-based truck driver Abe Atallah calls “microsleep.”

“Basically, your eyes are open,” Atallah stated. “Your hands are on the wheel, but your brain shuts off for three to four seconds.”

And it’s in those three or four seconds that a devastating accident can occur, because a driver’s focus and concentration are so compromised by lack of sleep that there is no time to react to an event such as a vehicle that has come to a stop ahead of the truck, or the truck veering into oncoming traffic.

How We Can Help You

After you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you need a reputable, nationally recognized personal injury law firm to help you recover from your ordeal and obtain rightful compensation. At Rosner Law Offices, P.C., we have built a team that is dedicated to helping restore you physically and psychologically. Call us today at (856) 502-1655 for a free consultation.

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