Most commercial truckers are good and responsible people, driving thousands of miles a year, safely picking up and delivering everything from food, to fuel, to furniture. They contribute to our economy and, like us, have families and coach their kids in soccer and baseball.
However, like is the case in any line of work, there are drivers who are irresponsible. They drink or use drugs and drive, or travel at unsafe speeds, sometimes with loads that are heavier than permitted. Fatigued driving is also a very serious problem.
Unfortunately, we at Tauber Law Office have dealt with too many people who have been injured or killed by the reckless behavior of big truck drivers.
Just a few weeks ago, we read a new study led by investigators at the University of Utah School of Medicine. It points to even more hazards from truckers on the highway.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that. According to the report, commercial truck drivers with three or more medical conditions double to quadruple their chance for being in a crash than healthier drivers.
A news release from the University of Utah notes that “Truck drivers spend long hours behind the wheel and often eat less-than-healthy food at roadside stops. These behaviors can raise their risk of multiple health conditions, which boost their chances of getting into a crash.”
Researchers examined data from more than 49,000 commercial truck drivers and found that 34 percent had at least one of several health problems — such as heart disease, low back pain and diabetes — that have been linked with poor driving performance.
Truck drivers with three or more of the flagged medical conditions were two to four times more likely to be in a crash than their healthier peers.
For example, the rate of crashes resulting in injury among all truck drivers was 29 per 100 million miles traveled, but was 93 per 100 million miles traveled for drivers with three or more of the identified health problems.
However, the study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect link.
“What these data are telling us is that with decreasing health comes increased crash risk, including crashes that truck drivers could prevent,” said study lead author Matthew Thiese .
Current guidelines prevent truckers with a major health problem from driving, but the guidelines don’t address numerous minor symptoms, the study authors said.
The researchers said the fact that occupants of other vehicles are hurt in three-quarters of injury crashes involving trucks makes this a public health issue.
According to study senior author Dr. Kurt Hegmann, director of RMCOEH, “If we can better understand the interplay between driver health and crash risk, then we can better address safety concerns.”
Big truck accidents are a big problem on America’s highways. One of the worst spots for these crashes is on the I-65 corridor from Chicago on south into Indiana. The attorneys at Tauber Law have represented dozens of people who have been victims of trucking accidents. Some are impaired for life. Others are killed. Many of these accidents could have been prevented.
Contact us at Tauber Law Offices if you or a loved one have been involved in an accident where the driver of the truck was at fault. The initial consultation is free. If we determine you have a case, we will fight aggressively until you get the justice and compensation you deserve. There is never a charge until you win your case.
Sources: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; University of Utah, news release, Jan. 16, 2017