Truck drivers cover long distances day in and day out to deliver goods across the country, including here in Utah. The demanding nature of the job, however, means truckers often push themselves to the limit, which can take a major toll on their health. Illness, fatigue, injury, and other medical issues can impair truck drivers, potentially making them unsafe on the roads and more likely to cause deadly accidents.
The Salt Lake City personal injury lawyers at Monge & Associates see the devastating aftermath when semi-trucks collide with passenger vehicles. While Utah trucking companies are quick to blame drivers, major health concerns are frequently a contributing factor to these crashes. Understanding these concerns can help identify causes and prevent future tragedies.
Common Health Issues for Truckers in Utah
Lack of proper rest and poor diet due to an unforgiving schedule often leads to chronic conditions like sleep apnea, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in truckers. Truck cabs also expose drivers to more noise and diesel exhaust over long periods. These conditions can lead to fatigue, cloud judgment, slow reaction time, and impair driving ability.
Musculoskeletal disorders are another concern from the physical demands of the job. Lifting heavy cargo, getting in and out of high truck cabs, unstable seating, jolting, vibrations, and poor ergonomics add up over miles of driving. Back and neck injuries, sprains, arthritis can make staying alert behind the wheel agonizing.
When Injury and Illness Lead to Accidents in Utah
Driving an 80,000 pound or heavier commercial truck clearly requires physical and mental soundness. So, when truckers have medical episodes behind the wheel from unmanaged conditions, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Diabetic incidents account for many big rig accidents in Utah. Hypoglycemia can cause confusion or loss of consciousness. Heart attacks and strokes are also too common for truckers, obvious hazards for operating heavy machinery. Seizures happen as well. Each poses immense risk to all roadway travelers if it happens while a semi-truck barrels down the freeway in Utah.
Likewise, falling asleep at the wheel has lead to some of the worst chain reaction semi-truck accidents in the state. Fatigued or sick truck drivers struggle to stay focused and react, often plowing into snarled traffic. Without proper rest and regulated hours, truckers push through illness and exhaustion just to make deliveries. But often they pay the ultimate price, as do other innocent motorists sharing the road.
Trucking Companies Must Address Health Risks
The link between trucker health and driver safety on Utah highways must be acknowledged so substantive policy changes can follow. Trucking companies that fail to implement wellness programs, actively manage driver health risks, provide regular medical exams, or enforce reasonable route and rest regulations put everyone in danger. Where negligence exists, firms and insurers should be held fully accountable.
As truckers transport essential goods nationwide, we all must find better ways to safeguard their wellbeing while keeping our roadways safe. Continuing to overlook the health crises in the industry serves no one. Collaboration now by trucking officials, lawmakers, health advocates and insurers provides the greatest hope for lasting reform that benefits Utah truckers and motorists alike.
Monge & Associates has offices in 32 locations and 19 states, including Utah, Kansas, and Virginia. Call us now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Utah.