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Can a Truck Driver With Bad Health Cause an Accident?

Posted on: February 3, 2024

Truck drivers are just like anyone else, vulnerable to bad health conditions or contributing to their medical problems. Unlike passenger vehicle drivers, though, they are behind the wheels of large commercial vehicles that are much larger, heavier, and dangerous. When truck drivers are in bad health, can that cause truck accidents?

What Are Truck Driver Working Conditions Like?

Truck driving is demanding work, even though they spend a lot of time sitting. They cover long distances within set time frames to make their deliveries. That means long, irregular working hours and extensive workweeks. When deadlines get tighter or weather conditions deteriorate, sticking with regular eating, sleeping, and exercise routines is even more challenging.

Health Risks for Truck Drivers

Those challenges put truck drivers at risk for certain health conditions:

  • Hypertension and obesity. Imagine trying to prepare a healthy meal or gathering energy to go to the gym after completing a 12-hour driving shift – that is why many truckers suffer from hypertension and obesity. They often visit truck stops, where fast food is the only option. There might be room for walking, but the surroundings do not always encourage that.
  • Poor eating habits. Poor eating habits and little exercise lead to these medical issues, as well as heart disease and diabetes. It is reported that 31 percent of American employees struggle with obesity; for long-haul truckers, that number rises to 69 percent.
  • Sleep apnea and fatigue. Although driving regulations limit truckers’ work hours, they only have to take one 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving. Keep in mind that their shifts can be 15 hours long. Approximately one-third of truck drivers experience sleep apnea, a symptom of falling asleep unexpectedly. Lacking proper sleep also causes or exacerbates other health conditions. Studies also suggest that fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents.

Truck drivers are also more likely to experience:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Depression

 Do Truck Drivers Prioritize Their Health?

Long hours on the road and pressure to make on-time deliveries cause many truckers to smoke cigarettes, drink more alcohol and take drugs. Fifty-one percent of long-haul truckers smoke and often do it to stay awake. That increases the risks of lung cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Many use other stimulants to give them energy, too.

Truck drivers do not always prioritize health care since their schedules are erratic. They prefer spending that valuable time off with family and friends instead of at a doctor’s office. Their health problems can be addressed with lifestyle changes, regular medical care, and medication. When they do not take care of themselves, their bad health can cause heart attacks, strokes, mental confusion, and psychological issues while they are driving.

Contact a New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer at Ellis Law for a Free Consultation About Your Truck Accident

If you need legal help after a truck accident, contact a skilled New Jersey truck accident lawyer at Ellis Law. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we assist clients in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.

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