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How medical conditions affect truck driver safety

North Carolina truckers tend to suffer from issues like high blood pressure, lower back pain, diabetes, and heart disease, as their lifestyle naturally demands that they sit for long hours, sleep only when they can, and eat at the most convenient places, not the healthiest. While most trucking companies will pull a driver for a serious health condition, most do not consider the way that multiple conditions interact and affect driver performance.

This was the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Investigators at the University of Utah School of Medicine analyzed the medical records and crash histories of slightly less than 50,000 commercial truck drivers to determine a link between medical conditions and the risk for crashes involving injuries. The authors estimated that for every 100 million miles, there were 29 crashes among these drivers.

More than a third of the drivers had one or more medical conditions previously linked to poor driving performance. Among those with three or more, the crash rate was an alarming 93 for every 100 million miles driven. Eighty-two drivers were flagged for being at the highest risk for a crash. Age and truck driving experience were factored in but did not significantly impact the trend.

Roughly 75 percent of big rig crashes lead to injuries for occupants of other vehicles. If someone was hurt because a truck driver had a heart attack, for example, then he or she has good grounds for an injury claim. A lawyer will bring in investigators to check the truck driver's records and measure how negligent the trucking company was in keeping an employee in poor health on the road. A successful injury claim could compensate the victim for medical bills, rehabilitative care, lost wages, and property damage.

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