Truck Driver Safety and Health

Posted on by Karl Sieber, PhD

semi truckTruck drivers face a disproportionately high risk for fatal crash-related injuries and for serious health disorders. The 2004 fatality rate for U.S. heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was 48.2 per 100,000 workers, approximately 11 times the rate for the general worker population. The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses estimated 63,570 non-fatal injuries among heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in 2004—the second highest number among all occupations.

We know this industry faces a high risk of illness and injury but the prevalence of specific health problems, and the relative contributions of occupation and health behaviors to the increased risk of injury and illness, is largely unknown. Some research associates the risk of crash-related deaths with job-related fatigue. Other studies suggest that the risks of cancer, heart attacks, and other disorders may be associated with aspects of long-haul driving such as loading and unloading cargo, irregular schedules, long hours of driving, a sedentary lifestyle, and the nature of drivers’ food choices on the road.

To help address these research gaps and better understand the risks faced by truck drivers, NIOSH is undertaking a national survey of truck driver safety and health. The survey, which grew out of stakeholder identified needs, will focus specifically on gathering baseline safety and health information among a large, representative national sample of truck drivers. We are seeking comment on the content and conduct of the survey through January 2, 2008. A proposed sample plan can be found on the NIOSH Documents for Public Review page. We propose to conduct the survey at 40 truck stops across the U.S., involving both owner-operators as well as company drivers.

The primary research questions for NIOSH are:

  • Is the prevalence of health conditions and sleep disorders greater in the truck driver population than in the general population?
  • How are drivers’ working conditions associated with health status and behaviors?
  • Are sleep disorders, fatigue, and the working environment contributors to poor health outcomes, highway crashes and injuries?
  • What are the risk factors, job tasks/exposures, and the short- and long-term effects of work-related injuries sustained by truck drivers?

We value your input and urge you to assist us in developing this important survey. In addition to posting comments on the blog, please submit formal comments to the NIOSH Docket. This extra step is important as we do not request or post contact information on the blog.

For more information on NIOSH research in this area visit the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector program portfolio.

Thank you for your assistance,

W. Karl Sieber, Ph.D.

Karl Sieber is a NIOSH Research Health Scientist with the Surveillance Branch of the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies. He has worked in survey design and analysis and has developed approaches to collect hazard surveillance data including the collection of occupational exposure data in the indoor environment and from metalworking fluids.

Additional references

Posted on by Karl Sieber, PhDTags

166 comments on “Truck Driver Safety and Health”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Hi Dr. Sieber,
    I’m a nurse in occupational health at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman, Mt. We have a large volume of DOT physicals and drug urines. I would appreciate any hazard update on medical nursing surveillance and how to keep the drivers safe.

    NIOSH is to be commended again for establishing the blog and accepting public comments.

    This post on the Truck Stop study is notable for what it leaves out.

    It leaves out diesel particulate matter (DPM). Truck drivers are thought to occupy the front line of exposure to DPM, a health threat in many industries and to the general public. There is little dispute that truck drivers suffer excess mortality from lung cancer, shown in over a dozen studies. The term “suggest” in the post is a weak for discussing this substantial body of data, and lack of mention of DPM is a concern. One study by NIOSH is cited below. There remains a bit of a debate as to whether and how much of that excess is due to DPM exposure. A conclusion that the observed excess derives in any material way from DPM exposure would drive very stringent exposure limitations. A middle-of-the-road account of this information (vintage 1995) is found at


    The emphasis on truck stops raises an interesting point. Truck drivers, if like other workers, spend about 40% of their waking hours at work, and breathe about 35% of all their air (working and non-working) in the occupational environment, meaning close proximity to operating diesel engines. However, the mention of truck stops raises the question of whether these workers also sleep in the vicinity of these engines. Based on a 5-day week, that’s about 70% of sleeping hours and 20% of overall hours.

    I would hope that the research team traveling to 40 truck stops would pack nephelometers and real time aerosol monitors as well a survey questionaires. Getting there would cut the effort of an exposure project in half.

    On another topic, the canonical discussion of lifestyle and health behaviors is also a concern.

    First, the mention of “sedentary lifestyle” is a bit demeaning for workers who are required to sit and concentrate intensely for their workshift. For most manual occupations, the demerit of “sedentary lifestyle” assigned by investigators typically ignores the metabolic load of work, even of standing and walking for the majority of a shift. For truck drivers, the job task prevents standing and walking.

    Second, I would hope that the contribution of endemic work related musculoskeletal pain to driving of adverse “health behaviors” would be taken into account. Prolonged static posture of the head and neck associated with seated work, in this case driving, is a material risk factor for neck and shoulder pain. If stress drives risk behavior, pain is a form of stress and also a driver. Hours of work likely contribute to stress and therefore also drive risk behavior.

    Karl Sieber says:
    Dr. Mirer:
    Thank you for your comments regarding the NIOSH truck stop survey. They bring up several useful points. As you point out, the relation between lung cancer and diesel particulate matter has been studied extensively, and is still under study. As you may know, NIOSH and the National Cancer Institute have been partnering on a study of the health effects from diesel in an underground mining environment which is nearing completion.

    A primary aim of the survey featured on the NIOSH Science Blog is to collect baseline information useful to determine prevalence of certain health conditions and risk factors among truck drivers. This survey is not intended to collect exposure information such as might be obtained from aerosol monitors or to address the relationship between quantitative diesel levels and health conditions. The question of whether truck drivers also sleep in the vicinity of diesel engines is, however, an interesting one which could be included on the survey questionnaire. We are considering other questions regarding diesel exposure information which may be appropriate to include.

    We do understand that the lifestyle of drivers is intimately tied to their working conditions; both from sitting in the drivers’ seat for up to 11 hours per day, and from lack of opportunities to exercise during their daily 10-hour off-duty period. You make a good point about our terminology and we will use alternative terms to a “sedentary lifestyle” in the future.

    We will collect information on working conditions as a part of this survey. In addition, we are considering questions about activities performed on the job, such as what might be obtained from an activity log. An activity log is presently included with the fatigue and sleep disorder components of the survey, although such questions might also be appropriate to include in each component.

    Questions relating to the contribution of pain and stress to health behavior will be included in questionnaires. These questionnaires are currently being finalized.

    Thank you for your comments. They are helpful in determining further development of the study protocol and questionnaires. I appreciate your interest in this study.

    At a time when highway motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of occupational fatalities – not only among truck drivers, but also sales representatives, administrative staff, and a myriad of other occupations that drive as part of their workday – I find it completely incomprehensible that Federal OSHA would exclude these fatal accidents from their normal reporting requirements.

    OSHA requires that fatal occupational injuries must be reported within 8 hours of death. However, a few years ago OSHA decided to exclude fatal motor vehicle accidents from these requirements. I’m not sure of the exact circumstances surrounding this decision, but I believe in some part OSHA felt that investigating MVA fatalities would be a duplication of efforts since these fatalities are also investigated by the Department of Transportation and other law enforcement officials. However, many state-plan OSHA authorities, including Washington, Oregon and Michigan (and perhaps others that I’m not aware of), have gone back to the original reporting rule for fatal motor vehicle accidents.

    The main reason that the state plans have decided to change back to the original rule – Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the US. Federal OSHA should follow suit.

    Great study, as a fatality or accident involving a truck driver will typically involve other occupants of the road.

    The vast array of additional job requirements of “Truck drivers” should be paramount in the study. Not all drivers drive from point A to B. The work that is done in addition to driving can encompass several health and safety factors. Many LTL (less than truckload) and delivery drivers face many additional fatigue related issues while the sedentary factor is reduced. A flatbed driver faces tarping issues etc. I would urge you to take the study to companies and drivers that are representative of all aspects of transportation in order to better understand the unseen factors that may contribute to the alarmingly high percentages stated in the article. Questions about driver distractions and complacency to known safe driving practices as well as the level of safety training the drivers are required to complete and if the drivers will honestly disclose their tendancies to ignore the rules.

    Ask questions like:

    1.Does the average driver consider a twisted left ankle enough of an injury to keep him from driving?
    2.If the flu leaves the average person bedridden, how does it affect an over the road driver who is symptomatic while 700 miles from the yard?
    Having spent 25 plus years in the driving field, I can look back on my own experiences and commend as well as scold myself for my practices. Now as the safety coordinator at a large transportation operation, I value any and all information that will help my company proactively address any safety and health issues that promote an attitude of driver safety. Both at work and at home.

    Having been involved with transportation issues as related to the concrete precast industry and general commodities I am able to point out that a few of the injuries incurred by drivers occur in flat bed trailers during loading and unloading operations, securing the load and tarping operations. Falls account for most of the injuries sustained with the resulting strains and sprains, also the possibility of being struck by or caught in between. Another major contributor is falling off the trailer or during the process of getting in or out of the cab, especially in inclement weather. In short hauls, less than 100 miles, and inner city driving drivers are exposed to higher levels of pollutants and increased stress due to traffic congestions and other drivers’ behaviour. The study should look into the different work hazards exposures between short haul and long haul drivers to see if any group is more exposed than the other.

    In the June 2007 US Public Health Service Commissioned Officer Foundation Training and Scientific Symposium, there was a presentation on sleep research which specifically discussed truck drivers and monitoring the length of eye blinks. When the blink duration began to increase, the subjects were already exhibiting impaired performance on cognitive tasks and decreased attentiveness. The speaker suggested that visual monitoring through facial recognition software could detect when drivers should be required to take a break.

    I would recommend to use a trucker-specific fatigue questionnaire that we have developed some years ago (see De Croon EM, Blonk RWB, Sluiter JK & Frings-Dresen MHW in Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2005;78:27-34). The original work-related fatigue part of this screening questionnaire is the need-for-recovery-scale (assessing work-related fatigue)that is recommended as well and has been used among others in long-haul bus drivers(see Sluiter JK, Van der Beek AJ, Frings-Dresen MHW in Ergonomics 1999;42(4):573-583 and De Croon EM, Sluiter JK, & Frings-Dresen MHW in Occ Env Med 2006;63:202-206).

    With regard to motor vehicle crashes, it would be very useful to better understand the relative risk as an element of exposure. Is the high rate of fatalities the result of excacerbating issues such as fatigue, etc., or is it simply a result of the total numbers of hours spent driving?

    In other words, is long-haul truck driving dangerous, or is driving in any context relatively dangerous and is the difference in fatality rates simply the result of the fact that long-haul drivers spend almost all their working hours driving? While I suspect the answer is “both,” it would be nice to see some research on motor vehicle fatalities (whether truck drivers or elsewhere) that took into account the relative risk of driving, as well as the relative risk of driving on the job (in other words, are driving fatalities at work simply a byproduct of the level of driving danger we all face, or are there unique workplace factors that driver that risk up — or perhaps drive it down?).

    I am a long haul driver and I believe the problem with trucker health is mainly due to their dietary intake of garbage called fast food combined with sitting on their butt and doing no physical activity whatsoever. Many trucking jobs today do not require any manual loading or unloading. I do not understand how some of these extremely obese people can pass the dot physical. I believe there are corrupt doctors out there taking bribes from these fat drivers so they can get their medical card and be able to legally drive.

    Great post……thank you for posting this, and in such great detail. I know you answered a lot of questions that many people are uncomfortable asking!

    I would like to follow this matter further with ‘some amount of interest’ Probably be big News in the Trucker’s News etc…I work in the ‘service industry’ within the transportation field.

    Thank you Karl, for allowing me to share my comments with you. As you requested they are as follows:

    1. What is needed in the trucking industry is a culture change. This type of change generally begins at the top of an organization and trickles down. With that in mind, it is important that research be conducted to identify the status quo of the leadership, decision makers and company owners. As I mentioned to Karl, frequently people say, “all truck drivers have bad habits” at which point I get a bit defensive and ask, “How do you know this to be fact?” There are many old, fallacies that predominate the industry which I have found not to be the case in my work with truck drivers. So please conduct research with industry stake holders to identify current beliefs. This will help identify the barriers to over come!

    2. Fatigue…please. Who doesn’t suffer from fatigue without adequate sleep, rest, nutrition, and stress reducing strategies. When was the last time you went without food for days …or didn’t sleep…and didn’t feel fatigue! So please incorporate basic research that asks drivers about sleep habits, physical activity, and eating habits. Oh yes, throw in alcohol in their off hours, and tobacco use. How many hours sleep do they get in a week!

    At the CDC you should not be at a loss for experts who can address the effects of malnutrion on the human body, or the relationship between nutriion and brain function.

    Sop looking at platonic reasons and come back to earth. We send our children off to school encouraging them to eat breakfast and providing breakfast at school for kids because we know they learn and behave better. We know our toddlers get cranky, whinny and difficult when they are tired and hungry. The US government dropped K=Rations from airplanes during WWII to keep soldiers energy levels up to fight and win the War. On the home front, mothers planted Vistory gardens in order to feed their children and families. Perhaps it time to engage in simple solutions.

    IT’s time for a culture change within the Transportation industry.

    3. I talk with many truck drivers every week. A registered dietitian I teach truck drivers about health lifestyle habits to prevent, sustain and promote personal health. I learn from my drivers that they avoid truck stops. The best truck drivers pack and prepare food in their trucks. There are a number of messages from this comment.

    Truck stops won’t get a good cross section of survey respondents.

    Truck drivers and industry leaders alike have very little respect for DOT…so if the research looks or feels like DOT it is likely responses will be low. Use independent research people to gather your data. Perhaps find people like myself, who can access truck drivers in companies to obtain responses to surveys. I believe I could get companies to distribute surveys at Safety Meetings if they knew work is being done to improve the health of truck drivers.

    Survey questions need to ask drivers about there current health habits. Perhaps some of the same questions or similare questions that are asked on a health risk appraisal. I’d ask, Do you have any of the following:

    1.Diabetes, hypertension, overweight?
    2.Has your doctor prescribes a diet? Medication? If so…what?
    3.Do you eat food prepared in your truck? Truckstops?
    4.How often do you eat fruit? Vegetables?
    6.HOurs of Sleep?
    7.TObacco use? want to quit? Times attempted to quit?
    8.Would you like your company to help you with your health concerns?
    It’s time to define the concerns, the best ways to address these concerns, identify the barriesr and tailor programming to address these needs. One size never fit everyone ….think outsie the box for once! Go back to the eating habits we had 50 years ago…you’ll get the results desired! Learn from Union Pacific, the airlines, pro ball players, mariners, etc. they have been promotion health for some time.

    4. The CDC has promoted health for the past 28 years…Healty People —Educate the transporation indsutry about the disparities, the objectives and goals, and resources including the Worksite health promotion models in the Occupation Health section.

    5. Please be willing to rock the boat! It’s time to help the trucking industry leaders see the big picture CDC > CDL certification > worksite health promotion. In Europe companies submit a worksite health promotion plan to their governments. As the US moves to socialized health care companies can be expected to submit a worksite health promotion program to the government – let’s be proactive.

    Karl as I indicated to you, I would welcome an opportunity to sink my teeth into promoting health of truck drivers through this project. Thank you for listening.

    Our company is in the process of setting up a division that works with trucking companies and their Occ. Health division to screen drivers for OSA. If the driver meets certain measurable hurdles; we will provide sleep testing and the necessary therapy. We would appreciate and input and assistance to further this initiative. Thank you.

    I am a radiologist from Taylorville, IL. We have a trucker’s lounge two blocks away from our center. A place to hang out, like its for other members from the same clan, the trucker’s lounge is a window into the fun loving and easy going lifestyle of the truckers. Boozing and binging is more like a norm for them.

    But behind all the bonhomie lies a life of undue pressure and unorganized lifestyle. As per US Bureau of Labor Statistics, they have the highest death rate among all of the workers, at 17 percent of worker deaths nationwide.

    While we have treated large number of truckers for work-related stress, whats interesting is the urge for them to move away from trucking to some other job. While some moved into medical transcription services, others tried their hand at pet shop maintenance, and still others got into charity.

    The fact that they are trying so hard to have their jobs switched stands testimony to the growing resentment amongst them with the tag of “being on the road” always.

    No doubt, the medical community needs to look into the predicaments of our truckers.


    what id like to know is, have there been any studies about the percentage of women truck drivers getting breast cancer and are they higher or lower than the national average? you know most of the drivers have an iron constituion to not get sick out there. what gets most people down we just shrug it off. i only got a cold about every 3 years. and now ive been nailed with breast cancer. absolutely no history of it in my family. with over 700 to 800 family members, 2 had stomach cancer and 1 had throat cancer. does anyone know or maybe a website i could get the info from?

    Karl Sieber says:
    Unfortunately, I am not aware of any research examining breast cancer among female truck drivers. Due to the small number of women in this industry and the fact that many of the female drivers entered the profession within the past 10 years, it is not possible to draw conclusions about diseases with a long latency such as cancer.

    However, your question raises an important issue that we will place on our research agenda for the future.

    Road accidents and other health related issues pertaining to Truck Drivers/Lorry Drivers are on rise in most of the countries these days. Unawareness related to health is the main issue. Truck Drivers are to work in more worst conditions then the general public due to which health conditions and sleep disorders greater in the truck driver population than in the general population.

    Truck driver’s job is really very hard as they have to continuously drive and as a result it ends up with sleep disorders and other diseases. I think government should make certain rules and regulations to avoid such things because sleep disorders are the main cause of highway accidents and by making rules (like there should be 2 persons as driver for a truck, so that i can get proper sleep while other is driving). But everyone takes risk for the basic nessecity of life that is food.

    What you said in the post are correct. The sedentary lifestyle and eating habits of the truckers make us prone to many diseases. Moreover accidents are major threat to life. Nice that CDC raised voice for us who are in trucking.

    Long hauling and short hauling are tough on your body. city driving is stressful. long hauling you are stressed to stay awake. Not to mention the rising cost of fuel and from population and suburban sprawl.

    I always wondered why there weren’t seperate roads for all truck drivers and shipping trucks. Next to highways, having straight unimpeded routes, with perhaps air vents along the roads that suck in the air through filters.

    If a truck drives past a certain area and triggers a fan or airflow to turn on for a few minutes based on cubic feet of air and volume of air that could be drawn in by the air intake vents. Or enclose those roadway routes in a silcon tunnel dome with solar power on the tunnels which could run the intake air filter system. It would also keep those routes from being altered in bad weather. But by the time that could be designed and implemented now, gas and diesel will be too expensive to use and vehicles will go to hybrids and electrics. who knows.

    Would definitely love to see the results of the survey. I would certainly think job-related fatigue has to be a major factor in these type of cases.

    It is nothing short of amazing that while the unprecedented prices of fuel have generated extraordinary reactions from both the media and citizens, the critical issue of highway safety is being all but ignored. Sure the distress about gasoline and diesel fuel prices is justified. But while the nation is fixated on these costs, people are continuing to die every day on America’s highways. And while there have been some advancements in traffic safety, more than 40,000 people a year continue to be killed in highway crashes every years—many of them children and teenagers. Despite the continuation of this national tragedy, there are some effective ways to reduce these deaths and injuries, many publicized at [].

    If you wish to keep medically unsafe drivers off the road, you will need to investigate the entire Medical Profession and the Insurance Industry. Three and a half years ago I injured both of my knees and I am currently confined to a wheelchair waiting for two knee joint replacements and collecting Social Security Disability. Last month I attended a Worker Compensation hearing and the Lawyers for the Insurance Company used a Doctor Report stating both MRI’s were wrong and I can return to work as a truck driver at any time. With these types of “quacks” examining truck drivers, it is unlikely that anyone with a medical condition will be denied a medical certification to drive.

    truck drivers belong to the blue collars community of workers..I agree that they should have regular check ups and the local government or hospital should also consider in helping those drivers by giving of free medicines and vitamins

    Drivers, especially company drivers, are subjected to long hours, up to 70 hour work weeks, then you get to take a whole 36 hours off! And this is if they are keeping their logs honestly. They have few healthy choices for food, since it is difficult to “park” their rigs just anywhere. There is no overtime pay, no respect for the drivers by the four wheelers they have to be on the road with, also no respect from most of the people they work for. There is not much consideration given to them, especially by the customers the drivers serve, who leave them sitting outside their business hours on end, with no regard or compassion for the driver, who may actually have a home life and would just love to be loaded or unloaded so that they can get underway, and hopefully routed back home, with the hopes of some kind of a normal life. They are also at the mercy of usually uncaring dispatchers who just want to get the next load underway. Sounds wonderful, huh?

    Will scope of survey cover long-term health effects (e.g., knee, other musculoskeletal) in delivery drivers, even after retirement, of years of climbing steps/stairs in delivering packages?

    See: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2003;60:794-797. Knee disorders in the general population and their relation to occupation. P Baker, I Reading, C Cooper, D Coggon.

    I am pleased to see this research being done to make a safe and healther work enviroment for such a vital industry. I am a truck driver and a truck owner with a cross country trucking operation where I am providing a job to a driver. I drive locally in a dump truck for a company and am on the safety committee. I am researching for statistics on injury rates of drivers falling while getting in and out of the truck. I am doing this to address a work package that requires a driver to get out of a truck when it is being loaded. Where can I find statistics such as this? Any help will be greatly apreciated.

    Mr. Watson:
    Thank you for your inquiry. Incidence rates and other information for truck drivers’ nonfatal occupational injuries (such as falls) involving days away from work are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The most recent (2006) data is available as a press release on their web site.

    Although falls specifically among truck drivers getting in and out of the truck (only) are not tabulated, Table 23 of the press release indicates that in 2006, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers experienced an incidence rate of 50.8 falls per 10,000 full-time workers for falls to a lower level, and 46.6 falls per 10,000 full-time workers for falls on the same level. For purposes of this table, a fall while getting into or out of a truck cab, as you describe, would likely be coded as a fall to a lower level. This is to be compared to overall incidences (across all occupations) of 8.0 per 10,000 full-time workers for falls to a lower level, and 16.4 per 10,000 full-time workers for falls on the same level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report also gives other pertinent information which may be of help to you, including nature of the injury and body part affected.

    I hope this information will be helpful to you. Please feel free to contact NIOSH if further information is needed.

    I am a Diet Technonlogist and I do a lot of community nutrition education. I know a few truck drivers and express my deep concern on an ongoing basis in regard to their health, diet habits as well as their sedentary activity level. Please send me any updates or information you may have. Thanks

    Reading these comments, I am amazed that there are so many mis-conceptions and falacies surrounding truck drivers among health professionals. Re: diesel particulate-long-haul drivers usually sleep in their trucks for several weeks at a time, often with the truck idling simply because temperature extremes make it impossible to sleep otherwise in an enclosed truck and it is not safe to sleep with the windows open. Even opening a vent often pulls in exhaust from adjacent trucks and one particular very common make of road tractor has notorious problems with exhaust and coolant fumes leaking into the truck during idle—several deaths have occurred. There is no way to escape the fumes and I dont doubt with the newer fuels with smaller particulate matter, the lung damage will be worse. COPD is very common but not attributed to the job.

    Long-haul and short-haul job configurations are very different. . .it is actually a different job entirely. Unfortunately, most studies interview short-haul drivers because they are more accessable. Long-haul has its own set of problems. Unfortunately, the casual observer often lets their inate distrust of a nomadic lifestyle they dont understand get in the way of unbiased observation. There wont be any binge-drinking truckers at any truck stop truckers lounge—unless it is one of the interstate strip joint/bars around the country. Most drivers never darken their doors. What truck drivers DO do is BS the gullible—they’re/we’re good at that!

    Falls are very common among those I work with—whole-body vibration likely is a contributing factor as a driver is often dizzy and unbalanced after having driven eleven hours straight. WBV has been implicated in a wide variety of disabling conditions, such as musculoskeletal damage (try L-3 to S-1), cervical disk problems, vision problems, female reproductive problems, prostate problems, digestive and abdominal conditions, etc. Studies done in the 90’s usually studied short-haul configuration drivers who have far, far less exposure to WBV. This incidence of damage has obviously been far under-reported and likely explains the high number of extremity injuries even in among drivers who seldom unload a truck. The exposure definitely exceeds the European recommended limits by several hours daily and with a seven-day week. It is not unusual for a long-hauler to driver 4000 miles in a weeks time—you run the numbers.

    Constant shift-change work has been shown to contribute to overweight, diabetes, sleep disturbances and high blood pressure. Irregular route long-haul drivers are usually exposed to this constantly, which leads to stress and poor health. Additionally, pay scales have been reduced continuously since 2002—stress over home, job and finances is a constant. I suspect much of what is being attributed to sleep apnea is severe long-term sleep deprivation over which the company driver has little control as he cannot control his schedule and the computer/dispatcher doesnt flat care.

    And finally, be very aware in any study that approaching major carriers for accurate information will result in a tained study as they have liability issues that are their over-riding concern and will do everything in their power to assure that no accurate information that could possibly open them to liablity will show up in any driver/truck under their control. The only way accurate information will be gathered is via instrumentation in the cab of a large group of drivers for a period of several months—instrumentation that can collect air quality, movement, jarring and scheduling data independently of the carriers and the drivers.

    I hope this information leads you to rethink whatever model you were considering for study—there are likely variables you havent yet thought of. I welcome NIOSH/CDC investigation into some of the worsening health problems drivers are being exposed to on a daily basis just to bring home a paycheck.

    Karl Sieber says:
    Dear Ms. Sunkle-Pierucki:

    Thank you very much for your comments regarding our survey. This survey is intended to be of long-haul drivers only. We do intend to collect information about factors affecting drivers’ stress levels, including many of the ones you have mentioned such as shift work, vibration, and sleep deprivation. Your discussion about diesel exposure to drivers is also very helpful. Unfortunately, available resources do not allow for instrumentation to be placed in drivers’ cabs, therefore limiting this survey to a questionnaire. We plan for the survey instrument will be administered face-to-face to long-haul drivers.

    I appreciate very much your comments and interest in the survey. Please feel free to submit any further comments you might have to this blog.

    This is really good and important information not baised against truck drivers or the trucking industry. I will post this on my website at [] and also submit formal comments to the NIOSH Docket.

    Dear Doug:

    Thank you for your interest in this survey. We appreciate all comments as to how results from this survey would be most helpful for the trucking community.

    I agree wholeheartedly about this article regarding truck safety, which should be taken seriously. More articles like this should be written regarding truck safety.

    In February of this year I was hired to develop an occupational health and safety council for the trucking community of British Columbia. One of the first tasks as you would guess is to engage in comprehensive planning.

    Many people and existing loss prevention practises will inform and influence the direction the counciltakes in the near and distant future. I discovered your website and the propsed sample plan for a comprehensive survey on truck safety and health. In short I would like to know when the results will be tabulated (if they aren’t already and I simply haven’t become aware).

    The main health concerns for truckers are injury and other health issues like back strain due to the sedentary life style. Back strain are unavoidable in trucking life to a much extend.

    I am a graduate student at ODU in my first semester of a Risk Assessment course. This article prompted me to look up the most common causes of all automobile accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration list the leading cause of death on the highway as distracted drivers. Some say that this country has subconsciously acquired acceptance of certain risks of distracted drivers such as talking on cell phones while driving, texting while driving, and aggressive driving. Data on these risks are few. Questions about whether these behaviors have been incorporated into truck drivers own working environment could add to the data. Since their working environment consists of interactions with other drivers, I wonder if truck drivers feel the growing number of distracted/aggressive drivers around them has any impact on their working environment. Have NIOSH done any research on the risk factors that distracted drivers pose to truck driver safety?

    Ms. Brumer:
    NIOSH is not currently directly involved in research on distracted drivers, although this problem has been brought up to us by stakeholders and questions to this effect are included in the truck driver survey questionnaire we are currently finalizing. References which you might wish to consult for some information on this topic, however, are:

    ◦National Highway Traffic Safety Administation, ‘Driver Strategies for Engaging in Distracting Tasks Using In-Vehicle Technologies’, DOT HS 810 919 (March 2008). Also available on the Department of Transportation website.
    ◦The National Safety Council sponsored International Symposium on Distracted Driving (Oct. 14-15, 2008).
    ◦Presentations at the International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driving Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design.

    Mr Sieber,
    I am a truck driver with the Seattle U.S.P.S. I did not know about this study earlier during the comment period. I understand that many U.S.P.S. truck drivers are soon to die within about a year of retirement. This is info I have gleaned from long term workers who themselves are soon to retire into disability and illness. I ask you to try and find a way to include the truck drivers, both tractor and straight truck drivers of the U.S.P.S. Additionally, you might also survey the rolls of recently retired or disabled U.S.P.S. truck drivers and inquire of the cause of death of those who are now deceased.

    I am certain that among these you will find cooperation and insightful information that is relevant to what you seek. The post office or OPM should be able to help you make the necessary formal connections.

    USPS drivers may be captured by our study if they stop at a truck stop where we are conducting the survey. Other efforts to specifically query this group are beyond the scope of our current research. The issues you raise are interesting and may warrant future examination.

    I am very interested in the findings of this study. I am curious to know if one of the health risks identified for truck drivers is tarp-handling.

    Do you have any specific data that relates to this? I am affiliated with a company that has just launched a light weight canvas truck tarp to help alleviate some of the strain truckers experience in covering loads on flatbeds. I’m working on editorial that draws attention to the health issues posed by repeated exposure to heavy tarps to help heighten awareness to the product choices that can support driver health.

    Will this research target sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and other STI/STD issues?

    Recently two cases occured in the same week in Washington State where drivers presented themselves to local emergency rooms with full blown AIDS, nearly decimated T Cell Counts and in both cases, neither driver had been previously tested for HIV nor were they aware of their HIV status.

    In both cases, these drivers were on the road, they were extremely sick, and unaware of the life threatening nature of their infections. They also posed a safety threat to every other motorist on the road.

    Will this study look at the unique sexual and reproductive health issues mobile populations (i.e. long haul truckers) face?

    I called 911 because a driver of a big tractor trailer was falling asleep on interstsate 78. I followed him about 20 miles before I took my exit. He was weaving from the right shoulder to the left shoulder, running cars out of their lanes, with many close hits. I caught it all on video. I called [name omitted] the owner of the truck and emailed stating I wanted to know what was going to happen about this incident, and I never got a response. I drive 78 everyday and everyday theres accidents.

    How do I handle this? 911 didnt work. [Name omitted] trucking gave no response. I think I will just post on so people can see how hard [name omitted] trucking works to be safe, and its a waste of time to call 911. Oh one more thing: In the video you can clearly here everthing on 911 called placed, and you can clearly see the almost hits Exact time and location and truck name was mentioned. Please someone tell me how to take action I do not want this driver killing someone !!!!!

    Has the research on Drivers heart attack and related illness been completed yet, & where can I get that info.

    If there are any other sources for info on truck drivers & heart attacks please send me the links or places people to call it would be appreciated. I am a truck driver who has survived a heart attack while on the road.

    Thank you for your comment and question. Unfortunately, our survey on long-haul truck driver injury and health has not yet been completed. In response to your question on other sources for information on heart attacks and related illnesses in truck drivers, I have provided a list of references on research into heart disease and mortality in truck drivers. I hope they will be helpful to you.

    I created a company design to directly address the needs of truck drivers health and wellness. I would like to collaberate with NIOSH to polit the program. Please contact me. Thank you in advance for giving me a chance.

    I believe NIOSH will save countless highway deaths through this important research. Truck drivers, who may be sleep deprived are involved in 11 x more accidents than the general public, according to this aticle!!

    What about auto/truck mechanics? I shattered my right wrist 30 years ago and had to have it redone. I have very little motion left in it. I lost part of a finger. I have worked bent over for 6, 8, 10 hours a day fixing cars and trucks. I have worked with, and man-handled 100+ lbs of steel by hand without knowing any better, or because of the lack of proper lifting equipment. The job HAD to get done. I have had to be like a pretzel to work on equipment. Handling 200 lbs of tire and wheel of a class 8 truck isn’t easy either. I have worked in 125 degree heat to -20 cold. My hands would turn bright pink from the cold. I have breathed more chemicals and asbestos dust over the years than most people realize. (No wonder mechanics act so goofy). I could go on, but you get the drift. Go sit in your favorite shop and just watch for 3-4 hours. You will be amazed. That’s my story, I did it for 20+years.

    Truck drivers face a disproportionately high risk for fatal crash-related injuries and for serious health disorders.people should know about this.

    One week after complaining of a broken driver seat and an EXTREMELY rough riding tractor, I suffered a small bowel obstruction (kinked intestine).

    Prior to this injury I was in excellent health. The pain began right after finishing an abnormally LONG trip, and was followed by nausea and continual vomiting for the next day and a half. After emergency surgery, the DR initially agreed the cause could have come from the truck ride and someone in his dept. signed a form saying as much. Now the DR is trying to distance himself from this, saying only that he DOES NOT KNOW what caused it. Does anyone know of any statistical relation of truck driving and small bowel obstructions that my surgeon can review to establish causality? I have been fired from my job for filing a workr’s comp claim and have not received any income or benefits since the injury on 9/19/09.

    I would really appreciate any help.

    The available medical literature does not report that truck drivers are at increased risk for small bowel obstruction. Sixty percent of all small bowel obstructions occur due to complications after surgery, 20% occur due to cancerous tumors in the abdominal region, approximately 10% occur due to hernias, and 10% are due to hereditary diseases, gallstones, abscesses, and traumatic events such as auto accidents. [Sleisenger et al. 2006]

    Sleisenger, MH, Feldman, M, Friedman, LS, Brandt, LJ. [2006]. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management, 8th Edition. Philadelphia: Saunders.

    According to a survey released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fewer Americans are drinking and driving, but one in six drivers are driving while on drugs during the weekend. The data was released on Monday from a survey conducted in 2007….

    Has the research on Drivers heart attack and related illness been completed yet, & where can I get that info.

    If there are any other sources for info on truck drivers & heart attacks please send me the links or places people to call it would be appreciated.My husband passed away last month of a heart attack while bumped to a dock to Arlington Texas and his company is refusing to pay for the medical bills he sustained while furthering their business. He died while on the job, which by Worker’s Compensation Laws means they are responsible for his death because he was inside the scope of his employment. Please help me our two boys and I are not without our loved one because he was forced to unload his truck and not able to get to a hospital in time to save his life. They also had the nerve to say they terminated him because he left his truck bumped to the dock when he dropped to the pavement with a massive heart attack in the warehouses parking lot. This tradgy has to stop!

    First of all, let us say that we are very sorry for your loss. NIOSH cannot comment on legal matters, and we advise you to consult an attorney regarding your Worker’s Compensation claim.

    The scientific literature on heart disease and occupation is extensive, but hopefully this brief overview answers your question. The only potential job exposure for truck drivers that appears to be clearly linked with heart disease is airborne particulate matter; the type that would be created by burning diesel fuel.1, 2 Truck drivers can be exposed to high levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) when they sit or sleep in the truck while it is parked and idling.3 In individuals who already have heart disease, exposure to airborne particulate matter has been associated with serious illness and death.4

    Smoking is also a strong risk factor for heart disease,5 as is obesity and its consequences (for example, hypertension and diabetes).6 Truck drivers are more likely to be obese than the general population; a recent study reported that 49.8% of unionized drivers were obese,7 compared with 33.9% of adults 20 years or older in the general population.8 There is some evidence that chronic work stress and shift work may contribute to obesity.9

    As you requested, we have included internet links in the References section below. Not all sources are free to view, but many are. You may also use to search for additional articles and abstracts.

    1. Araujo JA, Nel AE. Particulate matter and atherosclerosis: role of particle size, composition and oxidative stress. Part Fibre Toxicol. 2009;6:24. Available at:
    2. Valavanidis A, Fiotakis K, Vlachogianni T. Airborne particulate matter and human health: toxicological assessment and importance of size and composition of particles for oxidative damage and carcinogenic mechanisms. Journal Of Environmental Science And Health Part C-Environmental Carcinogenesis & Ecotoxicology Reviews. 2008;26(4):339-362. Available at:
    3. Fu JS, Calcagno JA, Davis WT. Evaluation of noise level, whole-body vibration and air quality inside the cab of heavy-duty diesel vehicles during conditions of parked engine-idling and on-road driving. Transportation Research Board 89th Annual Meeting. Washington DC; 2010. Available at:
    4. Brook RD, Franklin B, Cascio W, et al. Air pollution and cardiovascular disease – A statement for healthcare professionals from the expert panel on population and prevention science of the American Heart Association. Circulation. Jun 1 2004;109(21):2655-2671. Available at:
    5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking: A report of the Surgeon General. Available at:
    6. Libby P, Braunwald E. Braunwald’s heart disease: a textbook of cardiovascular medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier; 2008.
    7. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Truck driver fatigue management survey; 2006. Available at:
    8. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Curtin LR. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. JAMA. Jan 20 2010;303(3):235-241. Available at:
    9. Schulte PA, Wagner GR, Downes A, Miller DB. A framework for the concurrent consideration of occupational hazards and obesity. Ann Occup Hyg. October 1, 2008 2008;52(7):555-566. Available at:

    Dear Dr. Sieber:

    My uncle just recently passed and he is a truck driver as is my cousin and husband. Apparently, he suffered a major stroke or heart attack and wrecked his truck into a light pole. I am very concerned in taking the proper steps in keeping this from happening to my cousin and husband.

    We still have yet to receive the autopsy report back and my aunt has received a letter for Workers Compensation saying that she may be entitled to benefits. My worry is if it was a heart attack or stroke they are going to try and deny her, but I told her that a heart attack or stroke can be due to job hazard, lifestyle, sitting too long, etc.

    I would like to know where I could find supporting material in the event that they deny her. I do realize that she will need to retain a lawyer but my aunt doesn’t have a lot of money. My uncle was the bread winner and now my aunt is thinking she may have to file bankruptcy because she can’t afford everything on her own. I would just like to be able to provide her with facts about truck driver health studies and what is considered job related so that she can put it in their faces should they give her a hard time.

    Any help you can lend would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    A. Moore

    First of all, let us say that we are very sorry for your loss.

    We have recently discussed heart disease among truck drivers, so please see entries #40 and #49 above for this information. You may also want to visit the American Heart Association. Stroke and heart disease share many risk factors, including hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, and being overweight or obese. More information is available from the American Stroke Association.

    Little research has been done regarding the risk of stroke among truck drivers. A Danish study found that men who were employed as truck drivers had 24% greater risk of stroke when compared with all actively employed men.1 Unfortunately, this study did not include information on the risk factors listed above, so we do not know the contribution these risk factors made to the drivers’ excess risk of stroke.

    The reference below includes a link to the abstract for the Danish study. You may also use to search for additional articles and abstracts.

    1.Tuchsen F, Hannerz H, Roepstorff C, Krause N. Stroke among male professional drivers in Denmark, 1994-2003. Occup Environ Med. Jul 2006;63(7):456-460. Available at:

    Human death & injuries among truck and Cab Drivers. Knestaut, A. Compensation and Working Conditions, (1997, Fall), dentifies truck driving (From 1992 to 1995) as having the most fatalities of all occupations, accounting for 12 % of all worker deaths. About two-thirds of the fatally injured truckers were involved in highway crashes. Truck drivers also had more nonfatal injuries (over 151,000) than workers in any other occupation in 1995. Half of the nonfatal injuries were serious sprains and strains; this may be attributed to the fact that many heavy duty truck drivers must unload the goods they transport.

    Are you aware of any research published specifically on the effect of age on truck driver safety and age? Also, I’d be very interested to see this research report when it is ready. Where and when will it be accessible?

    Thank you for your comments.

    A review of research on the effect of age on truck driver safety is available in the recent article:

    Age-related safety in professional heavy vehicle drivers: A literature review. Duke J, Guest M, Boggess M. Accid Anal Prev 2010; 42(2): 364-371. (Copyright © 2010, Elsevier Publishing) With Australia facing a looming shortage of heavy vehicle drivers the question is raised as to whether it is desirable or prudent to encourage older professional heavy vehicle drivers to remain in the transport sector for longer, particularly those of heavy vehicles or recruit drivers of a younger age. The following is a summary of the research.

    AIM: To review age-related safety and identify other factors that contribute to accidents experienced by heavy vehicle drivers.

    METHODS: A search was conducted of national and international peer-reviewed literature in the following databases: MedLine, Embase, Cinahl, PsychInfo and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. A manual search was performed to obtain relevant articles within selected journals.

    RESULTS: A limited number of studies reported age-specific accident rates for heavy vehicles for the spectrum of driver age that included drivers younger than 27 years and those over 60 years of age. Heavy vehicle drivers younger than 27 years of age demonstrated higher rates of accident/fatality involvement which decline and plateau until the age of 63 years where increased rates were again observed. Other contributing factors to heavy vehicle accidents include: long hours and subsequent sleepiness and fatigue, employer safety culture, vehicle configuration particularly multiple trailers, urbanisation and road classification.

    CONCLUSIONS: Drivers of heavy vehicles are over-involved until age 27 years however a characteristic ‘U’ shaped curve indicates a higher risk of accident involvement for both younger and older drivers. More detailed analyses of “at-fault” involvement and inability to avert an accident and other factors that contribute to accidents across the ages of heavy vehicle drivers may give further clarification to the degree of safety of both younger and older commercial heavy vehicle drivers.

    Regarding our research, the process of conducting a large survey such as the National Survey of Long-Haul Truck Driver Injury and Health requires a series of government clearances designed to protect the public and to ensure high quality data is collected. Our survey is still in the clearance stage. Once clearance is granted, conducting the survey at locations around the country will take approximately 3-4 months. After which, results will be analyzed, reviewed, and published. There is a considerable time and resource investment in research of this nature. This blog was initially posted to seek input on the types of questions and procedures to use in this survey so as to ensure that the most useful data would be collected.

    Thank you for your interest in this survey. We would also be interested in any further ideas you might have for dissemination of survey results.

    After a CDL-A driver has a heart Attack what are the requirments that he must face to get back driving. How long does he have to wait to have a new DOT physical? Is there life for a Truck driving career after a heat attack?

    Thank you for your questions. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for creating the medical qualification rules, so I suggest calling one of their field offices for definitive answers to your questions. A list of phone numbers is available at:
    However, I can address some of your questions using the Physical Qualification of Drivers regulation pertaining to heart conditions and the guidance offered on the Medical Examination Form (links to both included below).

    1.”Is there life for a truck driving career after a heart attack?”
    It may be possible to have a truck driving career after a heart attack. The regulation does not state that a past heart attack automatically disqualifies a person from obtaining a CDL, and the guidance states that if a person’s heart is stable, it is possible to qualify for a CDL even after bypass surgery or pacemaker implantation.
    2.”What are the requirements he must face to get back driving?”
    To get back into driving after a heart attack, your heart must be working well. Your medical examiner will determine if you are still at risk of fainting (syncope), becoming short of breath (dyspnea), collapsing, or if your heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout your body (congestive cardiac failure). If you are still at risk for these conditions, you may not qualify for a CDL. Your medical examiner will make the final decision.
    3.”How long does he need to wait to have a new DOT physical?”
    To find out how long a driver must wait for a new DOT physical, please contact one of the FMCSA field offices listed at the website above.

    Jan Birdsey is an epidemiologist in DSHEFS and member of the project team.

    Regulation 49CFR 391.41(b)(4) states:
    “A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person: Has no current clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis or any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse or congestive cardiac failure.
    Also see “Instructions to the Medical Examiner” on the Medical Examination Form

    I am an independent truck driver with a 48 state DOT/MC authority, in good standing, with California ARB compliant equipment, who is interested in improving the health and safety of both the public and the beleaguered interstate truck drivers, as well as improvements in the motor carrier marketplace. I focus now on just two issues that relate directly to both:

    1.Parking and Detention
    2.Transparency in Broker Fees
    Both of these are very serious issues that directly impact both the marketplace of interstate transportation and health and safety of the public highway systems.

    The first, parking and detention is a well known problem, addressed by OOIDA (Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association), and deserves real action in congress even before so-called “black box” monitoring of trucks because lack of available downtime space for interstate trucking equipment and excessive wait time by shippers and receivers are marketplace problems that can be easily addressed.

    I have advocated that interstate distributors (shippers and receivers) of sufficient size and capacity (e.g. number of docks) be required to provide either adequate paved parking space and OSHA acceptable human facilities for 10 hours downtime themselves, or be taxed to have them provided through local governments. Obviously, business associations will lobby hard, arguing that this will increase their costs, but I expect that analysis of these costs would be surprisingly low and inconsequential to the marketplace. In any case, the cost of such parking should NOT be passed on to truckers themselves, who already are burdened to the point of virtual poverty by costs that shippers and receivers choose to avoid.

    Detention is a complex issue that OOIDA and OSHA have studied and need to create policy for–please help stop abuse of truck driver labor!

    Just as difficult and abusive credit card agreements and home mortgage loan contracts can cause havoc in the consumer financial marketplace, so too broker practices drive up shipping/receiving costs, and reduce public safety.

    The shippers/receivers have every right to assume that their dollars spent on cargo transportation will efficiently be deposited into the maintenance of truck equipment and health and well being of the drivers to convey their merchandise. Brokers who hide costs and fee structures hurt the marketplace, the health of drivers, and the safety of the public.

    I have advocated that DOT registered broker fees, commissions, or bundled broker costs associated with every load be expressed in clear language on the BOL as both a dollar value and percentage fraction of the total cargo retail value on that particular load.

    While the marketplace of carriers and drivers should not dictate to brokers what their share of the cargo market should be, every driver and independent carrier has the right to know what that value is for ease of bargaining.

    Excessive broker margins, restrained by a lack of transparency in the bargaining process, contributes to hardship on the part of driver labor and an inability of independent carriers to maintain equipment to the standards of public safety and ARB compliance required in today’s marketplace.

    Indeed fair labor practices, health and occupational safety, public safety, and marketplace efficiency are all a closely woven fabric within the trucking industry. Yet, most DOT and OSHA policies seem to ignore this and so are superficial in application, often actually increasing and dangerous burdens being placed upon the already beleaguered driver–rather than the marketplace of shippers, receivers, brokers, truck manufacturers, and large corporate fleets, where the burden justly belongs.

    Among corporate fleets and company drivers, electronic logbooks, for example, may have their place, but among independent owner operators, the tools are expensive and inflexible gadgetry with little or no public benefit.

    Similarly, where truck manufacturers are required to improve emission standards, large carriers are required to absorb additional costs of beta-testing new designs, while independent drivers–the primary recipient of used large carrier equipment–are required to shoulder the cost of shorter CARB compliant period of use, inferior mechanical reliability and shortened warranty, and increased cost of replacement parts with at best a token government “load program for new equipment” to assist in this transition.

    Excellent comments, everyone…

    I’d like to say that the combination of long hours demanded of the driver, together with the sliced and diced sleep schedule, the lack of availability of proper nutrition or safe exercise all contribute heavily to the situation in which we find ourselves. The complete lack of government involvement is appalling. As Ernest Tuffts said, much of this can be addressed by getting tough on the people responsible for it, namely, the large corporations, the shippers and receivers and the brokers.

    Some people suggest that the nutritional issues can be solved by the driver cooking his/her own meals. Believe me, it’s not realistic. I’ve tried doing that. It lasts only so long. There is not enough room in the truck for carrying cooking utensils, let alone, cleanup materials. There is not enough time for the driver, who, after having driven 3 hours more than the normal worker puts in a shift at work, to put together any kind of a decent meal. He/she is exhausted, with a 10 hour break allowed, wants a shower, food, and 8 hours rest (if possible, unless dispatch has some mass INFOMERCIAL they want to hit every truck in the fleet with over the QualComm).

    The day has only so many hours in it. With so much of it dedicated to mandatory and necessary events, there is little to no time or energy left for drivers to invest in healthy lifestyles.

    I nearly fell asleep behind the wheel the other day but i had my anti sleep alarm on and it sounded so i pulled over and had a break. They are not that expensive.

    My concern is with the bunk rooms we have to take our breaks in. i stayed in the same bunk room two seperate times this week. it had dead roach bodies in it both times, the same bodies in the same places. this tells me that the rooms are not cleaned. the roaches died from blunt force trauma, not bug spray. i also do not like having to pass men drivers in their underwear in the hallway on the way to the bathroom. i am a female driver, i find it hard to relax or even get enough sleep in a bunk room. i know the men do not like the bunk rooms either. at some of the terminals, we get to go to the hotels. at other terminals, if we go to the hotel, we have to pay for it ourself. we get a choice, stay in a nasty bunk room or pay for the hotel yourself. is there a certin way a bunk room should be set up for men and women? should they be inspected by the health department? any information would be greatly apreaciated.

    Thank you for your comments. I checked with CDC’s Division of Adult and Community Health concerning this matter, and was advised that this question may indeed be addressed at the local public health department level.

    Truck drivers certainly have a sedentary lifestyle with fast-food as a topper. This combined with stress of making timely shipments, lack of sleep, and isolation for that matter, create an extremely weakened immune system, which further allows for disease and cancer to proliferate. Aside from physical trauma, the reason why the fatality rate is so high in this occupation, to put it simply, is because it is the nature of the job that allows this end result to ensue. There are things to damper these terrible outcomes; a great idea was to put beds in the cabins, this allows drivers to get brief comfort and rest which in turn releases tremendous amounts of stress, and thus, rejuvenates the individual for safer driving and a healthier immune system. It’s ideas like these which will lower the fatality rate of this occupation. I’m going to go ahead and social bookmark this site all over the web because this is a huge issue at hand.

    Not only do sleepy and unhealthy drivers become a detriment to themselves, but they do so to other public motorists on our highways as well. A sleepy truck driver is a major hazard.

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

    One think I also wish to share online here is that According to me The main think that must be kept in mind while driving the lifted van is —–It’s HEIGHT.

    I have seen in my life and also read lots of blogs about accidents of lifted vans happened just because of ignorance or we can say confusion about height of lifted van by their drivers.

    Most of times such blogs make me remember that 2 heart cracking accidents I have seen in my life , which I can’t forgot throughout my life.

    So I request all of lifted vans drivers from here that please drive very carefully your lifted vans by keep in mind height of van and material in it and enjoy the world-class driving.

    Thanks for giving me chance to share my feeling.

    very good. We should fight against health problems for truck drivers. They deserve the government’s help.

    I am a truck driver and recently lost my eye sight in one eye. I am trying to find out how many states will let me continue to drive with only one eye.

    I am sorry to hear of your loss. While waivers can be obtained ( of vision in one eye appears to violate the federal FMCSA regulations for interstate commerce which stipulate that a driver “Has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses, distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses, field of vision of at least 70º in the horizontal meridian in each eye.”

    Individual states may have different CDL vision requirements. Please check with each state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to learn the CDL vision requirement for that state. State websites are available at

    “I am a long haul driver and I believe the problem with trucker health is mainly due to their dietary intake of garbage called fast food combined with sitting on their butt and doing no physical activity whatsoever.”

    I agree with the above statement completely. Especially since fast food is so readily available, combined with the sedentary lifestyle of many truckers (as they are driving a lot) it can equal rapid weight gain!

    Professional truck drivers deliver our nation’s essential freight safely every day, as a result of this commitment, our nation’s highways are the safest they have ever been and our grocery shelves are stocked. We as a nation owe a great deal to the truck drivers out on our nation’s roads every day.”

    I have 2 years otr experience and in late 2008 i was injured and have been unable to work and on disability since then because of my back. No back surgery, Just fractured a few vertebra.

    I got doctors clearence to return to work last month and everything is healed up with no lingering effects and nothing that would stop me from preforming any of the job duties required as a driver.

    I was just woundering how that will effect my chances to get back into trucking and get hired?

    Ive contacted a few companies and they go by my work record and dont take the injury into account when it comes to why i havent been working or abile to since then. Any advise on what i should do?

    Has the survey been completed yet? I was just wondering where I could find it, as I haven’t stumbled across it during my research.

    Data collection for the National Survey of Long-Haul Truck Driver Injury and Health is currently being carried out at selected truck stops nationally. Analysis of results will be forthcoming following completion of the data collection.

    I believe truckers are on the front lines. They can cover many states and are subjected to illness’ across the board. I believe flu clinics and other vaccinations along with much needed medical screening and care should be at truck stops. The CDC should give this great consideration as the traveling public can put the entire population at risk in a very short time.

    On a related subject-how in the world do we allow people to travel so easily throught the world by air. That scares me.

    What are the views on driver back and nerve damaged due to long periods of sitting, bounceing and twisting in day cabs? I have been working for a company now for over 5yrs driving apx. 325 miles a day in a day cab and a lift gate spring trailer and am begining to feel serious health effects. I feel as if my back muscles have been damaged and that i am developing a pinched nerve that effects my breathing.I can tell when it is pinched. My stomach is all messed up from the bounceing and i feel extreamlly arthritic..I didn’t think i would be fileing for ss disability at 51??

    Pissed and going to push the issues with OSHA…

    I am a graduate student at Life University,studying Exercise Physiology, and this email is in response to Dr. William K. Sieber’s initiative to create a health questionnare survey for truck drivers.

    The idea of developing health surveys for road truckers in order to understand the conditions that affect their health is a wonderful and innovative method to offer intervention to individuals that are usually seldomly presented opportunity to visit their physician or execercise enough. It is my proposal that truck drivers, if at the truck stops or the truck louge, be offered a health screening as well as the health and saftey survey.

    The health screening would be brief and concise:

    ◦Blood Pressure
    ◦Blood Cholesterol/Glucose levels
    ◦Body Fat%
    ◦Sit and Reach Test(If Healthy Enough to Perform)
    ◦A Printout of Results & Explaination of the Information
    I am aware that this is not a new idea. Many companies have begin utilizing this program as an incentive to reduce insurance costs for their employees. Nevertheless, it is not done for most trucking companies becuase of the nature of their business does not allow for the traditional method of employing this approach. Yet, with innovation, redesign, this can be done. The stakes are high: Truck drivers have one of the highest time away from the job due to occupational illness and injury. Health screening will not make trucker want to exercise, however, it will raise awarness and possible prevention, which is a more proactive approach.

    The subject of reforming truck driver health awarness and intervention is of prime interest to me. Please allow me to know if I could offer my assistance in any way to get more involved with this project.

    I am medicaly disabled due to driving a haz mat truck. my arms never quit hurting. dr says i have CIDP. when i use them they hurt to bad to use more than a few minutes. quality of life is sad. pain keeps me from having a descent life. do you know other truck drivers who have this and is there a cure.

    I am sorry to hear about your health problem. While I am not a physician, I can provide you with some information regarding your condition. As you may know, CIDP stands for Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy, a chronic disorder of the nerves that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms or legs. CIDP is rare, affecting approximately 2 in 100,000 people. It can strike at any age, but it most commonly starts during a person’s fifties or sixties.

    CIDP is generally a life-long problem; however, 70% to 80% of patients that are aggressively treated end up with only minor disability. Your physician can develop a treatment plan that is the safest and most effective for your particular situation.

    The causes of CIDP are poorly understood, but there is evidence that it involves the immune system; it is more likely to develop in persons with other immune disorders, such as lupus. I was unable to locate any scientific literature relating CIDP to truck driving or any other occupation, so we do not know if job exposures can trigger the disorder.

    Jan Birdsey is an epidemiologist in DSHEFS and member of the project team.

    I drive team on a dedicated route for a large well known 2005 our new lease tractor was new Volvo.we a fleet of these replaced at. One early 2007 all of these tractors developed coolant leaks every where coolant circulated. Heater core leaks side cab front and sleeper both.the rider lease constantly. Tried or said they did to repair them mine continued to leak inside cab up until tractor was replaced 2 years of breathing antifreeze 18to20 hours per day has caused many serious health problems.30 percent lung lost amune system disorders possible heart problems.and many others .id like to here from others with similar problems.

    I have been driving off and on now for 15yrs. Long haul i have expirenced sleep/ stress fatigue that lasted for years after i stoped driving. I even took a year off and hiked and went to health programs but still it would creep back in. Not to mention depression. Short/local has been worse. They have been running me 300-450 miles per day in that equipment. Results– wiplash, arthrtic pain everyday, headacks, nose bleads, Chriopratic care, severe cartlege and tendon damange to the back which resulted in lost time from work; and now 4 polups were removed from my anus of which i consider a direct result from all the bouncing in a day cab.. Donald

    Has there been an update on the statistics collected in the NIOSH truckers survey or any additional studies?

    Thank you for your inquiry. Field work for the National Survey of Truck Driver Injury and Health was completed December 2010. Our research team is currently ‘cleaning’ all survey data for quality control purposes and beginning analyses of collected data. I am not aware of other national studies of truck drivers which have involved personal interviews of drivers at truck stops.

    Data collection for this study was completed December 2010. Our research team is currently ‘cleaning’ all survey data for quality control and beginning analyses of the data. We are planning a series of articles for publication, discussing findings from the various sections of the survey (working environment, health, fatigue, injury). Articles, however, have not been completed at this time.

    Our company is in the process of setting up a division that works with trucking companies and their Occ. Health division to screen drivers for OSA. If the driver meets certain measurable hurdles; we will provide sleep testing and the necessary therapy. We would appreciate and input and assistance to further this initiative. Thank you.

    Me and my coworkers have started our own program of exercise every night. We do a relay route, and were getting over weight so now every night on our lunch break we go for a job together. Also we are watching what we eat, and all 4 of us are quitting smoking as a team.

    Interesting read. Do you have the results of the study that was carried out? I live in Europe and would like to see a similar initiative being carried out over here. There are specific laws regarding truck driver safety and health, but in my opinion they could be more far-reaching.

    Obviously, sleep disorders involves the truckers do not sleep well, if you do not rest well you address the fatigue, eating habits across the road of life is not the most ideal for a healthy life.

    We are interested in any papers that have resulted from this study. I saw that the data cleaning started at the end of 2010.

    As a Registered Dietitan, I would be very interested in the results of the study from a nutrition perspective.

    I believe NIOSH will save countless highway deaths through this important research. Truck drivers, who may be sleep deprived are involved in 11 x more accidents than the general public, according to this aticle!!

    I am interested in collaboration, I am a physician researcher at University of California, San Diego. I am currently designing a questionnaire to identify health literacy and motivations to exercise for truck drivers.

    In the 2007 US Public Health Service Commissioned Officer Foundation Training and Scientific Symposium, there was a presentation on sleep research which specifically discussed truck drivers and monitoring the length of eye blinks. When the blink duration began to increase, the subjects were already exhibiting impaired performance on cognitive tasks and decreased attentiveness.
    The idea of developing health surveys for road truckers, in order to understand the conditions that affect their health is a wonderful and innovative method to offer intervention to individuals that are usually seldomly presented opportunity to visit their physician or execercise enough.

    My 58 year old husband was a long haul frac truck driver. He was on the job and on the way to a well site. While parked at a truck stop in Texas, according to doctors, he had a major heart attack and passed away. My husband has never been over weight. He very rarely complained about his health. He was a smoker. He had only been working for this company about six weeks. He did not leave a will, power of attorney or anything. I know I will have to hire a lawyer. Does anyone know of a similar situation?

    I am an auto electrician in Australia. Has there been any study done about diesel to lpg conversion and its effects on helping reduction of diesel fumes?

    A manuscript detailing the results is currently undergoing peer review. When the article is published we will post the information on this blog and also plan to post a new blog summarizing the results.

    Heart disease is very dangerous for truck drivers, some of them are caused by prolonged sitting, such as deep vein thrombosis and truck drivers must be more informed and educated in order to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    I have a back ground as a Heavy Duty Mechanic and Owner / Operator, I’m 69 years old and threw the hard times I’ve had to operate some real junk just to feed my family and pay the bills.

    Here in Canada if you quit your job or get fired you can’t get Unemployment Insurance without a big fight………So gess what many of us are put in a place where we drive substandard crap and feel trapped. Lots of us have been “Black Listed” for standing up to the old schoolers.

    I have just spent since Oct 18/2012 operating a older K.W. fuel tanker and pup trailer hauling “Jet A’ with over 40,000 Lt. loads both on the highway and off highway for (a large Canadian) Heli logging Company.

    The steering wheel and drivers seat was set up for a small person plus the seat was a worn out peace of junk that wouldn’t adjust back far enough for me plus the steering wheel was pushed into my belt with me having to drive the truck bracing myself back with my arms and legs all day thus getting a real pounding.

    This is a major safety issue but no matter what I sad or in reporting this matter I’ve not seen any resolve in this matter and I’ve ended up off work due to being injured from driving this way.

    The rolling stock of this company is very badly repaired and very little is being done to put a stop to this “OLD SCOOL” thinking by management.

    At this time I’d be better of on welfare then working like this. I’ve done what I can by writing to the National Safety Inspections, C.V.I.P. & D.O.T.

    I do have a truck of my own that I’m going to try and go back hauling logs with it, that way I can drivie to my bodys tolarances and not go past them.

    There is just too too many companies Here in Canada that don’t understand what due dillagence is…….. I’d like to have all my Canadian Drivers ….Workers… look up Bill C45 of The Canadian Criminal Code . This very clearly states the employers responsablities to all.

    Best Regards
    Fred Thompson
    ” Theoldbear “

    Thanks for writing such a useful article for us Karl Sieber. It is really helpful for truck drivers to stay healthy and work safely while their job. Keep posting such articles.

    I liked the line as a large truck, the driver of this car is relatively difficult, therefore you should always keep yourself in good health to do their job well

    The technical advances responsible have been driven by public policies and industry’s responses to them. Governments spend a relatively modest amount on renewable-energy research, roughly US$5 billion per year globally, which is less than one-tenth the amount allocated to health research. But government incentives are essential for market growth; they drive private-sector investments in clean-energy technologies of about $250 billion per year globally.

    One thing not discussed is the rise in the oil and gas trucking industry. The hours requirements are very relaxed for these drivers leading to very long stints in the cab but maybe parked. This needs to be addressed because the number of trucking accidents in the shale oil plays has grown exponentially.

    it is very necessary considering person safety and health specially when it comes to driving. Many safety measures have to be taken in order to avoid accidents.

    We have similar issues with delivery in the UK, so have to ensure all of our drivers are level 3 trained.

    Thanks for sharing this article. It’s really very informative post and such a great detail. I appreciate your survey of truck driver injury and health.

    Thanks for your posting and great trucking driver. I really happy connect to this post.
    really awesome nice post thank you very much

    Great post This is really helpful information.I think that truck driver must be a little quite rest and everyday try to some exercise.

    I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

    This blog post is really great; the quality information of this post is genuinely incredible.

    Every truck driver employer and truck drivers themselves should read this very important article. It is really useful and explains some really crucial things very easily.

    Yes,Agreeing all valuable points.Driver safety and health is the very important.important. Safeness are vanishing now-a-day.Lack of sleep and mind diverts play an major role in road accidents. Lackness of sleep will kill driver. Safeness in road sides are very less,who know what will happen?.So give proper safety and good health.We are leading e-commerce site in india,We constantly make awayness in all over the world about Safetyness.

    Great read! I really enjoyed it!

    I’m not sure if you have any updates but if you do could you please post them?

    I really appreciate your survey of truck driver safety and health. Thanks for this great post.

    This is very useful content thanks for sharing. Truck Driver Safety and Health
    is most important topic and this topic use in our daily life routine.
    Truck Driver Safety and Health

    Very informative blog as there a very small no of people those think about the labourer community and concern their sufferings. Thanks for updating us.

    You need to consider its advantage and disadvantage of the truck you want to use. I really appreciate this blog.

    Truck drivers should have a regular check up and test. Their work hours should be monitored and avoid fatigue. They are not the only one at risk but other people on the road as well.

    I have cocroaches in my company truck. I brought this to the attention of my supervisors over a week ago and they still are making me drive his truck for the completion of my trip,these bugs pose a risk to health and well being of both my dog and myself, I have taken a couple of photographs of the bugs in my truck what are my options

    CDC provides guidance on Disease Vectors and Pests in the context of housing ( which would also apply in your truck. The guidange includes: inspect things bought into the area to make sure they don’t carry cockroaches, remove anything from the area likely to attract cockroaches, use non-chemical bait and trap treatments, and if pesticides are used, use them according to government regs and manufacturers’ directions.

    Note that the General Duty Clause of the OSHAct ( states that it is the responsibility of an to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

    There is no specific work hours of truck drivers, they have to work at any time of the day or night. Many people life depends on their good driving, so they should take good care of their health.

    Thank you!!
    Was very informative blog for those who are looking up to take a drivers job as a full time profession explaining them what issues they can face.

    This article is very good to read Very informative, detailed and resourceful. Thanks for sharing this.

    Useful article. Thank you so much for updating us. It would give us a good understanding on truck driver safety and health.
    Hope Jacoby

    Thanks for sharing! You have shared great tips that can help beginners. Keep posting and help people learn more.

    Interesting blog. good information is provided regarding Truck driving. Was very useful, thanks for sharing the blog.

    Interesting blog, good information is provided regarding Truck Driver Training. Was very useful, thanks for sharing the blog.

    Like driving under the influence of alcohol, education and pleas failed, but enforcement has worked.
    Texting while driving is a larger day-to-day risk to life than terrorism and gun violence combined.
    The enforcement of the laws, and application of penalties, are both needed.

    Truck drivers put their lives at risk.If we really want to do something for truck drivers we need to give compensation for the guys and we should provide all essential safety kits and knowledge about their health.

    Really a truck driver deserve praise for risking their life every time, because no one can predict what can happen in a minute.

    a very interesting article.
    Being a trucker is not easy.
    They are practically all the time on the road, and they are exposed to many dangers, and they are also far from their family.
    Thanks for these helpful tips.

    Simply put, the post offers some useful information. I appreciate you sharing this important information with us at this time. Please provide me with regular updates

    Great post. Such helpful info regarding truck Drivers.
    Truck drivers live a very struggling life and due to this, get a lot of problems related to obesity, fatty liver, etc.

    This blog provides crucial insights into the pressing health and safety concerns faced by truck drivers in the USA. It highlights the need for comprehensive research and action to address these issues.

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