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Poor health increases crash risk for truck drivers

Truck drivers with multiple health conditions are much more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, according to a study. Researchers found that many truck drivers in Kentucky and around the nation have trouble maintaining their health because their job requires that they sit behind the wheel for long stretches. Many also tend to have poor eating and sleeping habits.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine, examined the medical records of almost 50,000 commercial truck drivers and found that 34 percent of them showed signs of one or more health conditions linked to driving performance problems. These conditions included heart disease, diabetes and low back pain. The researchers also scrutinized the crash histories of the drivers and discovered that those with three or more "flagged conditions" were up to four times more likely to be involved in truck crashes.

The overall injury crash rate for truck drivers was 29 per 100 million miles driven. However, the rate spiked to 93 per 100 million miles driven for those with three or more flagged health conditions. The study took into account other factors that can lead to accidents, such as a driver's age and experience. The lead author of the study said the results show that preventable health conditions can lead to an increased crash risk.

Thousands of U.S. truck accidents are caused by negligent truck drivers every year. An occupant of another vehicle who is injured in such a crash may want to meet with an attorney to see how best to seek compensation for the out-of-pocket medical expenses and other damages.

Source: Safety and Health, "Truckers' medical conditions can increase crash risk: study," Jan. 25, 2017

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