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Trucker safety impacted by multiple health conditions

Trucking companies in Oklahoma and the rest of the U.S. should know about a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which analyzed the medical and crash records of 49,464 commercial truck drivers and found a link between increased crash risk and the presence of certain health conditions. Investigators flagged 34 percent of the drivers as having a condition that may have contributed to their poor driving performance in the past.

The study estimated that for every 100 million miles driven, there were 29 crashes resulting in injuries. Drivers with three or more medical conditions had an average of 93 crashes per 100 million miles. Of those, 82 drivers were placed in the highest risk group and should have been pulled from service by their employers.

The problem, according to the authors of the study, is that trucking companies isolate each medical condition and do not consider how multiple conditions, even manageable ones like high blood pressure, can work together to affect driver performance. Considering how truckers tend to develop conditions like diabetes and lower back pain, this can be a disastrous oversight. The study suggests a revision of commercial motor vehicle guidelines based on a better understanding of truckers’ medical conditions.

Despite greater awareness of health issues like heart disease and sleep apnea, they are still a frequent cause of truck accidents. If someone was injured by a trucker who fell asleep at the wheel or had a medical episode, he or she may be eligible for damages. A lawyer can help with the personal injury claim by hiring investigators to reconstruct the accident scene and by bringing together medical records and other documents before negotiating a settlement with the trucking company’s insurance carrier.