Retaining drivers means providing coverage for more than just health insurance

This is part 1 of a four-part series on trucker health and wellness. CCJ‘s “What Drivers Want” series. Other parts of the series areFleets play a role in driver health and wellness“,”Easier access to medical care for drivers“, and “The big picture of driver health also includes mental health”.

Bob Perry, a trucker health advocate, said his father, who made a living driving trucks for 45 years, was diagnosed with high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and diabetes in a health care package for professional truck drivers. He said he retired with a lot of things to do. The trucking industry claims more than 300,000 people each year due to poor health, whether it’s from the worst-case scenario of death or the more common cause of failing a DOT medical exam and losing your health card. of drivers have lost their lives.

“It’s certainly a big burden,” said Perry, president of Health in Transportation.

according to CCJAccording to the What Drivers Want report, health is one of drivers’ top concerns, between paying their monthly bills (1st place at 33%) and saving for retirement (3rd place). It came in second place. CCJ surveyed more than 800 lease owner-operators and company drivers and found that 22% said their health was their number one concern, and 17% said it was their second biggest concern. 11% ranked it third. Company drivers are more concerned about their health, with 25% ranking it first, compared to 17% of owner-operators and 6% when asked what they dislike most about their job. I answered that the occupation was good health. It can have negative health effects, and the prevalence increases as drivers get older.

The average age of survey respondents is 60 years, and the average life expectancy of commercial truck drivers is 61 years. That’s 16 years lower than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The CDC says it is clear that this population is extremely unhealthy, primarily due to work restrictions, constant living on the street, lack of access to good food, and lack of exercise.” ” Perry said.

The CCJ survey found that while many drivers commented on aspects of regulation, including the impact on their health, the thing drivers disliked most about their job was regulation (35%), indicating that regulations They say it will make work and life difficult.

One driver commented that the regulations interfere with circadian rhythms and driving hours should be based on an individual’s health and ability, while another said the 14-hour rule made them feel tired and sleepy. He said he ended up driving.

“ELDs in particular will force you to work even harder to stay productive. The proposed speed limiter regulations will increase the pressure to squeeze every mile possible,” said another driver. commented. “There are few ways to stay relaxed and patient in order to maintain public safety and get from point A to point B.”

[RELATED: Report shows safety ranks behind revenue growth, minimizing expenses]

Regulated long hours of driving not only impact drivers’ physical health, such as lack of mobility and physical activity, and limited healthy food options, but they also impact their mental health, making drivers feel safer. and the stress of achieving productivity goals while maintaining social isolation. Alternating current.

These negative health effects spill over into a company’s bottom line, impacting health insurance premiums, increasing the risk of accidents, and increasing the costs of losing drivers and finding replacements.

That’s why more trucking companies are recognizing the importance of driver health.

“Airlines are taking this more seriously than ever,” said Andy VanZant, chief operating officer of Mississippi Gulf Relay.

Angel Coker Jones is the next senior editor. Private carrier journal, Covers technology, safety, and business segments. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, foraging for medicinal plants, and napping. She also enjoys traveling to new places and trying local food, beer, and wine.please contact her [email protected].

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