Who carries the responsibility for your health as a truck driver, you or your company? This is a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for some time now.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that long-haul truck drivers may develop health problems because of their work environment. If a driver has a medical condition that affects their ability to drive, it could cost them their CDL — and their livelihood.
One survey found that long-haul truck drivers are more likely to smoke and be overweight than people in other professions. In addition, truckers are less likely to be physically active compared to other workers in the U.S.
A driver’s motor carrier has the responsibility to ensure the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examiner is informed of the minimum medical requirements and the characteristics of the work to be performed. The motor carrier is also responsible for ensuring that only medically qualified drivers are operating its commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.
I certainly agree that we each need to manage our own well-being. However, when you have a job that comes with a working environment that can have a direct negative effect on your health, shouldn’t the company share some responsibility?
Shouldn’t companies support their employees with the necessary tools to be preventive and proactive when it comes to their health? Businesses do this when it comes to their equipment, with measures like oil changes, tire tracking devices, and testing the engines oil for potential breakdown.
But what about testing your body, your “engine,” for potential breakdown?
I have two thoughts on this on this subject.
First: I’ve always felt that motor carriers need to educate and then support drivers in managing their well-being through educational materials, health screenings, the ability to talk confidently with a CDL health coach for guidance, accountability and motivation. Having a reward program is key. With the high cost of recruiting new drivers, why not reward the ones you have for passing their CDL re-certs? The message is, “Why not save the drivers you know today, before hiring the next unknown drivers of tomorrow?”
Second: You, as a driver, have to be willing to engaged in any wellness programs that are offered and utilize the support your carrier is willing to provide. Show them that you do appreciated it by interacting and making your best effort to stay healthy and pass your re-cert exams.
Ultimately, we must each take responsibility for our own health.
Known as The Trucker Trainer, Bob Perry has played a critical role in the paradigm shift of regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers to understand the driver health challenge. Perry can be reached at [email protected].
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.