According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), truck drivers are “twice as likely to smoke compared to other US workers.” That’s a startling statistic, and it represents one of several concerns for truck drivers, a workforce that we rely on for so much in our country. Other issues that truckers have to face bravely? Long hours on the road, irregular schedules, and a sedentary lifestyle. Let’s talk about why truck driver health and wellness is important for them—and for us, as their companions on the freeways.
1. Avoiding and Limiting Lifestyle-Related Diseases
As mentioned above, smoking is not the only danger here. The sedentary lifestyle that often accompanies long hours of driving can lead to other lifestyle-related health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Though truck driving can be a very rewarding job, it isn’t always easy, and irregular eating patterns, limited access to nutritious food, and inadequate exercise can increase risks. It’s tough but necessary to incorporate physical activity (when possible) and to make positive dietary choices, both of which will reduce the likelihood of developing these conditions. Companies have a responsibility to raise awareness about the importance of diet and how to stay active on the road.
2. Establishing Mental Well-being
Along with improved physical health, mental well-being is equally important for truck drivers. The nature of their job, often characterized by long hours of solitude, isolation, and the pressure to meet deadlines, can contribute to mental health challenges like stress, anxiety, and depression. If companies can do things like creating a supportive community or encouraging open conversations about mental health, this can go a long way in ensuring the overall well-being of truck drivers.
3. Keeping Our Roads Safe
The correlation between truck driver health and road safety cannot be understated. An unhealthy truck driver is more likely to experience fatigue, decreased concentration, and slower reaction times, all of which can contribute to accidents. Drivers with poor health are at a significantly higher risk of being involved in crashes. By prioritizing their health, truck drivers can enhance their alertness and overall ability to navigate the roads safely.
4. Retaining a Vital Workforce
We believe the trucking industry is the backbone of the transportation industry, and it relies heavily on a skilled and experienced workforce. However, the industry is currently facing a shortage of qualified truck drivers. By prioritizing the health and well-being of existing drivers, we can help retain this valuable workforce and ensure the smooth flow of goods across the country. A well-supported and healthy workforce is more likely to stay in the industry, reducing the costs associated with high turnover rates and driver shortages.
Truck driver health is an individual matter that also has larger implications like road safety and a thriving trucking industry. Being aware of and addressing the health concerns faced by truck drivers, we can ensure safer roads, a more productive workforce, and healthier individuals.