There are many causes of fatal trucking accidents. They include speeding truck drivers, improper maintenance of semis, and cargo not properly secured.
But do the lifestyles and health of truck drivers lead to catastrophic truck accidents? A team of researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine have concluded that they do, and identified specific driver behaviors and conditions that increase the odds for crashes.
Illinois Truck Drivers Included in Study
The study, recently published in the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, involved about 800 truckers. The truck drivers were found in Illinois, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Kentucky, and Iowa, and all participated voluntarily.
The truckers underwent physical exams and completed detailed questionnaires about their crash histories, lifestyle choices, work conditions, and mental and physical health status. By reviewing the answers the researchers were able to discern specific factors that can lead to trucking accidents.
Fatigued Truckers and Those on Cell Phones More Likely to Crash
Truck drivers with poor health conditions – those that have high pulse pressure and truckers who are fatigued – were found to have a higher risk for accidents. The former could be a sign of heart problems, according to the researchers. And a trucker’s long hours on the road, lack of exercise, and other common workplace factors can contribute to heart problems.
Almost one out of every four truck drivers in the study had high blood pressure that had not been diagnosed and treated previously, despite rules that require truckers to be examined by a doctor and medically certified every two years.
The fact that tired truck drivers can cause serious wrecks is not new. Federal regulations to combat driver fatigue that limit the number of hours truckers can drive were instituted a few years ago, but were eventually suspended due to trucking industry opposition.
Not surprisingly, researchers also found truckers using cell phones while driving were more likely to cause accidents.
Another recent study, conducted by professors at the University of Notre Dame, examined personality traits of truck drivers to determine any link to driver turnover and driver safety. One preliminary conclusion was that drivers more prone to anger are also more prone to crashes.
When negligent truck drivers and negligent trucking companies cause wrecks, they should be held responsible. Those severely injured or who lost loved ones in a truck crash may want to consult an attorney who represents victims of catastrophic trucking accidents to pursue just compensation on their behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.