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Staying Safe and Healthy as a Long Distance Trucker



A career as a long-distance trucker can be financially lucrative, and a great way to make a living without having to work under the watchful eye of a supervisor. However, it’s not a job that comes without risks. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that truck drivers have the most dangerous careers of all. Not only do these individuals account for the most job-related fatalities, but they also suffer from the highest numbers of occupational injuries and illnesses.

Substantial Operating Costs

According to the Truckers Report, it costs an average of $180,000 per year to keep a commercial truck operational. Although truckers aren’t often responsible for performing their own emergency fixes, it’s smart for them to at least understand the foundational components of their rigs, including shocks and brakes. Worn shocks are especially dangerous because they interfere with a driver’s amount of control over a vehicle, and also cause excess strain on related parts. If a driver is trying to save money, he or she might opt to do a less than thorough job ensuring that everything is in working order, but this decision could be one that’s ultimately fatal. If money’s not available, truckers can use a factoring service to get immediate cash to make necessary repairs on their vehicle.

Physical and Mental Difficulties

Multiple studies have found that long-distance truckers are more likely than others to suffer numerous simultaneous physical health issues, plus mental problems. In one 2010 study, just over 76 percent of respondents admitted to suffering from more than one health problem, and specifics ranged from diabetes to hypertension to musculoskeletal troubles. Also, slightly more than 18 percent of people polled in that study said they had mental problems, the most common of those being stress and anxiety.

Proactive Measures Against These Challenges

In regards to operational expenses, awareness is usually preferable to ignorance. Deciding to delay fixing a problem instead of managing it promptly could cost truckers income and health-related expenses too, particularly if a problem causes a dangerous accident. Fortunately, 24-hour trucker maintenance services are available in states like Indiana and Florida. These are helpful in a pinch, but it’s ideal to get into a routine of regular maintenance checks, instead. Keeping an eye on things could prevent problems before they become major issues and prevent safety-related mishaps, as well.

In South Africa, one trucking company called Engen has encouraged drivers to learn more about health threats by attending screenings set up at truck stops. Checks occur for disorders ranging from AIDS-HIV to high blood pressure. Engen’s corporate social investment manager says that in comparison to 2011, the 2012 wellness initiative attracted more than twice the amount of attendees, topping out at almost 850 participants.

Also, throughout the United States, a company called Roadside Med has teamed up with Pilot Travel Centers to make it easier for truckers to receive health care assistance, including routine physicals. Studies have indicated that even when long-distance drivers have health insurance, many do not regularly see a doctor. Perhaps when medical care is offered in convenient locations, truckers will be more likely to seek prompt advice about concerns and also get recommended screenings.

In both, the areas above, staying informed is crucial, whether that means maintaining awareness about a truck’s components or one’s personal health. By taking that step, truckers can make a meaningful difference in avoiding many of the hazards that come with this occupation.