Multiple Health Problems, Multiple Crashes?


February 3, 2017 / Truck Accidents

A new study has determined that a commercial truck driver’s general health is connected to his likelihood of being in a crash.

Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine discovered that drivers are two to four times more likely to crash if they have three or more medical conditions. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine published the results in 2017.

Almost 50,000 commercial truck drivers were checked for 13 medical conditions that included some relatively common health concerns. Over one-third—34 percent—showed signs of at least one condition that has been statistically linked in the past to poor driver performance, such as:

  • Diabetes that requires medication
  • Lower back pain
  • Heart disease.

The study also examined drivers for uncontrolled blood pressure and noted cases of serious obesity.

When the medical histories and crash histories of the drivers were matched, the ones with at least three ailments were more likely to have been in a crash. Among all truck drivers, there were 29 injury-producing crashes per 100 million miles traveled. But among the truck drivers with three or more medical conditions, the rate increased to 93 injury-producing crashes per 100 million miles traveled. The trends remained the same even after other factors that influence a driver’s abilities were taken into account, such as years of commercial driving experience and age.

This new research means that even if one ailment, such as diabetes, is manageable, when it is combined with anxiety and high blood pressure, for example, a driver’s crash risks are substantially increased. Currently, the guidelines for commercial truck drivers mean that those who have major health problems are taken out of the driving pool, but the guidelines do not take into account multiple instances of less-serious health conditions. The study’s lead author, Matthew Thiese, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor at RMCOEH, the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, commented, “Right now, conditions are thought of in isolation. There’s no guidance for looking at multiple conditions in concert.”

Thiese went on to note that for truck drivers — who sit for long hours behind the wheel, may not have the most nutritious food available, and often sleep poorly — it’s especially problematic to stay healthy.

For all of us on the roads, it’s in our best interests for research into the links with truck drivers’ health problems to continue. That’s because, when a truck hits another vehicle, it is those in the other vehicle who are hurt in three-fourths of injury-causing crashes. Kurt Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H., the senior author of the study and the director of RMCOEH, said, “If we can better understand the interplay between driver health and crash risk, then we can better address safety concerns.”

When Something Goes Wrong, We Are Left to Wonder

Indiana truck accident cases can be complex legal claims that require thorough investigation and demand aggressive litigation to secure the best possible outcome for the plaintiff. While monetary compensation can never undo the damage done as the result of a truck accident, a financial recovery can ease the financial burdens caused by overwhelming medical bills, loss of income, and disability.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck, we suggest you talk with Indianapolis truck accident lawyer Mike Stephenson. With more than three decades of experience, substantial financial resources to commit to your case, and a commitment to the highest standards of client care, you can count on Mike. Contact him today by calling 1-317-825-5200 for a free accident consultation, or use our online contact form. At Stephenson Rife, when others breach their duty, we keep ours.

Featured Posts

  • Can Automatic Emergency Braking systems reduce accidents?Can automatic emergency braking systems reduce accidents?
    In Vehicle Accidents
    Car accidents can have a devastating impact on the lives of crash victims and their families. Not only do they experience fear and uncertainty, but there can also be huge medical bills, time off work, and ongoing pain and suffering. That’s why government agencies and advocacy groups are always on the lookout for ways to make vehicles safer, often employing technology and autonomous, smart-vehicle innovations to enhance manufacturing […]
  • Slow Cooker Crock PotSunbeam Crock-Pot Recall
    In Product Injury
    Burned by a Sunbeam Crock-Pot? – You May be Entitled to Compensation When you buy a product and use it as intended, you don’t expect it to injure you; too often, though, products we assume are safe fail and cause major injuries or even death. Victims may be left with high medical bills and physical and mental pain and suffering, and be unable to work. In cases like these, when someone has been harmed by using products that should have […]
  • personal injuryHow long do you have to sue for personal injury?
    In Personal Injury
    The statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years in Indiana. This means an accident victim has just 24 months to file a lawsuit after being injured. The clock starts from the date of the accident or injury, with just a few exceptions. If you miss this window of opportunity, you risk having your case dismissed. Many people who have suffered an injury – whether slip & fall, car crash, or workplace – often ask the […]

Archives