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Study links poor truck driver health to higher accident risk

Truck drivers in West Virginia and around the country perform a challenging job that often requires long hours, and their health could impact their ability to drive safely according to a study conducted by a medical university. The researchers examined the medical records of almost 50,000 commercial drivers and compared their health conditions to data about their accidents.

The researchers identified drivers with one or more health issues that could reduce their ability to drive effectively. These high-risk health conditions included low back pain, diabetes and heart disease. The driving records for drivers with at least three worrisome health conditions revealed that they experienced a higher rate of truck crashes. Per every 100 million miles driven by these people, 93 crashes occurred. When looking at all truckers, including healthy people, the crash rate equaled 29 per 100 million miles.

The study acknowledged that commercial drivers tended to have health problems because of the demands of their job. Sitting for long periods of time behind the wheel, getting irregular sleep and eating poor meals contributed to the poor health of many drivers.

These issues could lead to truck driver fatigue, and this is one of the leading causes of semi truck accidents each year. However, this can be caused by something other than bad habits. In some cases, truck companies will pressure their drivers to complete their deliveries without taking sufficient rest breaks. This can be a violation of federal regulations. People who have been injured in a collision caused by a sleep-deprived truck driver may want to meet with an attorney to see if they should seek compensation from the company as well as the driver.

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