In 2014, the CDC reported on a comprehensive study that took a look at the health status, risk factors, and work practices of long-haul truck drivers in the United States. Conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the article said U.S. long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely to suffer with weight issues, more likely to smoke, and held increased risk factors for chronic disease.
Over the past few years, articles on the health of the transportation sector have become more mainstream. Most seem to paint an evolving picture of the truck driver with one recurring focal point—the growing trend to transform the trucking industry. Amid all the discussion, a movement has been underway to combat a staggering number of statistics and stereotypes.
Consider the information in this article published in 2014 by a health magazine. It says, “In America, nearly 1 of every 15 people in the workforce is employed in the trucking industry, including over 7 million truck drivers on our roads. Due to an unhealthy lifestyle and lack of good nutritional options while traveling, truck drivers are categorically one of the unhealthiest populations in our country. Indicative of the challenges facing this population, the average life expectancy of drivers is 61 years.” This expectancy was based on a limited study completed in 2005.
While there is variation in observations, the good news is that growing attention on the benefits of healthy living is changing the public’s idea of the traditional truck driver and the negative associations with their health and weight. Part of those changes are coming from truck drivers in the industry seeking to improve their own well-being for self improvement and part of those changes are coming from industry enforced regulations, like the Department of Transportation (DOT) Exam that requires drivers pass a comprehensive physical and meet a certain level of baseline requirements such as blood pressure readings of 140/90 or below.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is also seeking more and more documentation on driver health related issues. As part of the Compliance Safety and Accountability Act of 2010, which addresses roadside safety violations, a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) was added with emphasis on reporting the health of drivers and their ability to operate a CMV. What this means, quite simply, is that drivers are not just getting more fit, they are having to prove they are more fit with items like medical certification cards.
Trucking is a rewarding career, one that offers benefits not found in other professions. It’s also a changing field. One that is becoming a safer and healthier career choice. As a result, now more than ever, a variety of programs and online tools are being made available to the driver to help monitor good health. Websites like weightlossbuddy.com and apps like the FatSecret Calorie Counter, available at https://www.fatsecret.com/connected/android, are easily accessible and have reported significant success.
At Millis Transfer, we encourage health and wellness including sports affiliations and activities that help with team building and fitness motivation. Since wellness goals are not just about improved performance, you’ll learn when working alongside us, our support of healthy choices is not just there for compliance issues. It’s all about you—being a member of the family that we want here for the long haul.
About Millis Transfer
Mills Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information please visit www.millistransfer.com, www.mtidriving.com or call 1-800-937-0880.