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Poor health may be factor in some truck crashes

According to research, trucking and health issues go hand in hand. The long, uninterrupted hours that truck drivers may spend behind the wheel without access to restful sleep accommodations and nutritious meals have previously been linked to a variety of medical issues, including lower back pain, diabetes and heart disease. Now findings suggest that commercial truck operators with three or more medical problems could pose a risk to others sharing the roads with them in Kentucky and around the country.

The study results were released in January 2017 by the University of Utah School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. After evaluating both the accident and medical histories of nearly 50,000 commercial truck drivers, investigators concluded that the crash rate among truckers who have three or more health conditions was significantly higher than the crash rate among the study group as a whole.

The study's senior author believes that these findings indicate a need for further investigation. Industry guidelines remove truckers who have a serious medical condition from the pool. However, they do nothing to address the cumulative effect that a simultaneous number of less serious medical conditions might have or the risk that the affected drivers might pose to others.

Although negligent and careless truck drivers may impact roadway safety, the evidence suggests that unhealthy truckers might also contribute to the dangers of everyday travel. A person who is seriously hurt in a big rig accident may find it beneficial to seek help from a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a crash. In some situations, the attorney may be able to establish liability in the case and pursue damages in civil court on the client's behalf.

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