For Immediate Release.
At the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) this year, there will be a different kind of truck among the country’s premier truck beauty show !
Among these shined and polished working show trucks, will be the WalkAMileAmerica 20 year old neglected and abused semi ( once a “show truck” itself), displaying to everyone what happens when even the most sound and beautiful truck is neglected over time. The purpose of this is to correlate similar effects of both driver body and truck, stressing the importance of “care and maintenance for both.
WalkAMileAmerica affiliated with TruckDriversHealth.org, will be sharing the causes, effects, and also solutions for bringing the driver (and truck) back to “health”.
They will also be at Booth 32010, sharing information and literature.
Just off the production floor, the semi truck is a gleaming specimen of craftsmanship. With proper care and routine maintenance, it can travel over the road for a million miles or more.
But neglect it, and the tractor can transform into a rusted and battered shell. Perhaps still able to function, but it may need some attention to perform at a peak level.
Over time, all semi trucks will break down, need repairs aid even need to be replaced. But they aren’t the only thing the trucking industry depends on to keep the country’s economy moving
Just like the semi truck needs maintenance, the same goes for over-the-road drivers, though the pool of them is small and even dwindling due to ongoing driver shortages, recent government regulations and the job’s notorious unhealthy lifestyle.
To drive home the importance of driver health. Walk A Mile America and TruckDrivers Health.org are taking a neglected semi truck on tour to serve as a physical representation of the continuing crisis in the transportation industry: poor driver health.
In response, the nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving the health of the nation’s truck drivers is developing a boot camp of sorts to help over-the-road drivers instill and maintain healthy habits.
Poor health has plagued truck drivers for decades. Long hours driving, lack of healthy foods, irregular sleeping patterns and the nomadic lifestyle has manifested itself in obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea and hypertension.
Statistics from the National Institute of Health indicate that not only is the truck driver population unhealthy, but it is significantly worse off than the general public. For example, more than 50 percent of truck drivers are considered obese, compared to 26.7 percent of the rest of the population. Data shows diabetes and hypertension are much more common among truck drivers, as well.
Poor health affects not only the driver, who may experience a shortened lifespan, be unfit to drive, and miss time and possibly money on the job, as a result. Companies feel the effects of drivers in poor health, too, potentially paying higher insurance premiums, missing delivery deadlines or even having to address employee turnover.
The trucking industry overall suffers as well. Not having fully recovered from a recent driver shortage, the Industry could lose many more employees because of these health problems. Drivers now are required to pass a Department of Transportation Examination to obtain a driver’s license. They must pass a comprehensive physical and meet various baseline metrics before they are approved to drive.
The Compliance Safety and Accountability Act of 2010, which addressed roadside safety violations, has added the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), it requires drivers to earn a medical certification card, indicating they have physical and medical clearance to operate a semi truck.
These regulatory steps are important ones in addressing the chronic problem of driver health, but the Walk A Mile America program is intended to target the driver first. By reaching out to drivers through a boot camp program of sorts, they will learn to adopt and maintain tips for pursuing a healthier lifestyle.
This will yield positive benefits for their employer as they are in good health to perform their jobs, meet various regulatory standards and possibly batter healthcare premiums.
For years, poor’ health has nearly been synonymous with the trucking industry. By addressing it, hopefully that image will change and ultimately attract new drivers to the market to fill the enormous anticipated growth in moving goods.
Making this change will require reaching the driver through employers, insurance programs and direct contact.
For more information or to donate and support this cause, please visit walkamileamerica.com 405-542-5857.
© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.