South Carolina motorists who are concerned about driving safety should know that the health condition of commercial truck drivers is a significant factor in crash risk. Truck drivers with three or more certain medical conditions have as much as four times the crash risk of drivers who are healthy, according to researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine. Because they have to sit for longer stretches of time and tend to have poor sleeping and eating habits, they also have difficulty remaining healthy.
The medical records of almost 50,000 commercial truck drivers were examined for the study. Thirty-four percent of the drivers showed signs of having one or more of the health conditions linked to subpar driving. Examples of these conditions included diabetes, heart disease and low back pain. The crash histories of the drivers were also examined. The researchers determined that drivers suffering from at least three of the flagged medical conditions had a dramatically increased chance of having had been in a truck accident.
The rate for crashes that involved injuries among all drivers was determined to be 29 per 100 million miles traveled, while the rate was 93 per 100 million miles traveled for truck drivers who had at least three medical conditions. Factors such as the amount of commercial driving experience and age as well as any other factors that could affect the ability to drive were taken into account for the crash rate calculations.
The poor sleeping habits of many truck drivers can be a concern, but truck driver fatigue can be caused by other factors as well, such as pressure from the trucking company to stay behind the wheel instead of taking a rest break. People who have been injured in crashes caused by drowsy truck drivers may want to meet with an attorney to see if filing a personal injury lawsuit naming both the driver and the employer as defendants would be advisable.