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Trucking Regulations Can Add to Driver Health Problems


In today’s safety-conscious environment for the trucking industry, the professional truck driver is facing the possibilities of more regulations, all in the name of safety.  Nobody will dispute the importance of safety, but a major aspect that is most often overlooked by these regulators is the effect these regulations can have on the overall health of the driver.

Truck driver health is an important issue that seldom receives the media attention that it deserves.  We are all familiar with the health problems that many drivers face, all due to the trucking lifestyle.

When you dig a little deeper, you will discover that most of these health issues can be attributed to one single factor: stress.  Dig even more, and you will find that truck driver health problems can be brought on by something as seemingly simple as a change or revision within a particular regulation.

Serious thought should be given by the FMCSA on the possible health risks that drivers may experience when a new regulation is being considered, such as the proposed hours of service (HOS) change.  We are all well informed on the various categories of illnesses that the trucking lifestyle brings, but one really only needs to look at one single element, the stress factor.

Clinical research has shown that stress causes as much as sixty to ninety percent of all illnesses.  The professional driver is already surrounded by a very stressful environment and perhaps the number one focus of any driver is finances.  When regulations are imposed that can cut into the drivers’ ability to earn a living, financial stress and worry can lead to serious health complications.

Stress has been shown to be directly related to physical complications such as:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Heart Disease
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obesity

Stress is also the determining factor in other health issues including :  chronic unexplained pain, ulcers, heartburn, increased asthma attacks, migraines,  Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Autoimmune Diseases.  Nearly all of the health complications that are seen in the professional trucker can be directly linked to stress, and women truck drivers are also not immune to its effects.

Stress in women can lead to health issues including:

  • Eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia which are 10 times more common in women than in men
  • Stomach ailments such as cramps, bloating, heartburn and IBS which can lead to weight loss or gain
  • Emotional conditions including depression which strikes women twice as often as their male counterparts
  • Sleep problems including insomnia
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Lowered immune response

The effects of stress on women can have even further health complications such as changes in menstrual patterns, skin reactions including rashes and hives, infertility and even cancer of the breast and ovaries.  An entire array of illnesses and health problems, many associated with the professional truck driver and all brought on by stress.

As I receive many emails from drivers who are concerned with the impending HOS rule change, I find that they all have one aspect in common . . . all are worried about the financial stress that the new regulation will place on them.  Will they be able to get enough miles to pay their bills and support their loved ones?   This is the common denominator that I am finding in the emails and phone calls received by long haul truckers across the country.

Trucking regulations that overlap others, such as the HOS rules, speed limiters and EOBR’s, can only enhance the level of stress in truck drivers who are already fighting against low miles and cheap freight.  Regulations, even with good intentions, for many drivers will turn out adding to the already serious health issue that drivers’ face.

For the FMCSA,  it can appear to only be a simple change or revision to the hours of service rule . . . for the professional truck driver, it can be a direct assault to their livelihood and one that could lead to further health problems all brought on by a scientifically proven killer called stress.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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3 Responses to Trucking Regulations Can Add to Driver Health Problems. - Post a Comment

  1. […] by these regulators is the effect these regulations can have on the overall health […] Want More? Reply With […]

  2. Manny toledo

    Hellow allen,i was read all u email,and one thing driver be worrie is about electronic owner operator can suport family and bill.when we go to customer customer hold driver somethime 3 to 6 hours to unload u o loaded the truck.mine question how we can get pay for all thats time in order stop driver yet because be law driver hours is done.where all thats truck going to park when every truck driver dont have more hours to drive.every day congress make more lwa against truck driver and nothing good for the thing may be thats guy dont know,that we support all this economic for this country.but their blind and they only look for tha money.its not safety,that what they allways say.they allways lien.i hope something chance .thank u very much for all u emails and keepu good work. att manny toledo/owner of Jaome Transport LLC,kissimmee fl.

  3. Rick

    the new regulations is NOT about SAFTEY. it is about GOVERNMENT control. i have thought about getting my own truck for so long, but due to high fuel costs, AND government regulations, I remain as a company driver. but will soon get ou of all together. these regulations is al BS. and even the thought about us paying for the onboard recording devices on mexican trucks, really gets me still. mexico has never done anything for us. as i have read here over and over, it would take awareness, for us as truckers, company or owner ops, is to help get the word out. it will happen. I am just surprised it has’nt happened yet.

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