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Truck drivers in poor health crash more often

A published study has revealed that truck drivers in Pennsylvania and around the country who suffer from medical conditions like heart disease and lower back pain are far more likely to be involved in accidents.. Researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine came to this conclusion after studying the accident histories and driving records of slightly fewer than 50,000 truck drivers. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Irregular sleep patterns, sitting for eight hours or longer each day and eating at diners and truck stops are not conducive to optimum health, and a study released by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2014 revealed that America's truck drivers are more than twice as likely to be obese, smoke cigarettes and suffer from diabetes. The University of Utah researchers focused on conditions that could diminish response times or make operating a commercial vehicle more difficult when they studied the drivers' medical records, and they found the commercial vehicle operators who suffered from three or more of these flagged conditions had the highest risk of being involved in a crash.

For every 100,000 miles they cover, the nation's truck drivers as a whole are involved in about 29 accidents. However, this figure increases to 93 crashes for every 100,000 miles when drivers suffer from a combination of three or more flagged conditions. The researchers say that they took factors such as age and work experience into account when making their conclusions.

Experienced personal injury attorneys often study large amounts of data when preparing semi truck accident lawsuits, and they may consider the medical history of the driver involved relevant if it reveals conditions that could have contributed to the crash. Attorneys could also review driving records, cellphone usage data, police reports and the violations histories of trucking companies.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "National Survey of Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury", Office of Research and Information Technology, Jan. 14, 2014

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