Study directly connects crash risk with truck driver obesity

Commercial trucking is a vital part of this nation’s industry and a critical element of its functioning economy. Unfortunately, commercial trucking is also uniquely dangerous. Because any truck malfunction or human error can cause injury and death to innocent motorists and passengers who just happen to be near a truck when it becomes unsafe, the safety issues affecting this particular industry uniquely concern the public at large.

Though it is ordinarily no one else’s business whether a worker is obese or not, a new study suggests that the public interest may be affected when truckers are obese. Due to consequences of obesity, like truck driver fatigue resulting from severe weight-related sleep apnea, the results of the study which links trucker obesity with an increased crash risk make the healthy weight of commercial truckers very much the public’s business.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, was led by an expert from the University of Minnesota at Morris. Researchers followed nearly 750 drivers for two years before analyzing their crash risk as compared to their normal or obese body composition.

The results indicate that obese truckers are at up to a 55 percent increased risk of crashing as compared to those drivers who have a normal body mass index number. In addition, the results suggest that severely obese truckers carry far greater risks than those categorized as obese or overweight.

Body composition is largely the result of personal choice and workers should ordinarily be left to treat their bodies how they choose. However, when a trucker’s body composition threatens to endanger innocents surrounding him or her on the road, the trucking industry, government regulators and the public should take notice and seek solutions to the overall issue.

Source: TruckingInfo, “Link Discovered Between Driver Obesity and Crash Risk,” Nov. 8, 2012

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