Tractor trailer drivers are desperately needed by both the U.S. and Canada. Statistics showed that 90% of all consumer products and foodstuffs were shipped by truck throughout Canada, and almost two-thirds (by value) with the United States; the men and women that drive these vehicles play a major role in the economic state of both nations. Unfortunately, the job isn’t always a safe and sound one.
Health Hazards And Risks
Although automatic transmission vehicle sales outnumber manual transmission vehicles by 10 to one, the trucking industry relies on manual diesel vehicles to transport most goods. As a result, only trained and qualified individuals can become tractor trailer drivers; this job is in high demand, yet comes with the following risks.
- Obesity: Truck driving is almost entirely solitary, sedentary work. The combination of a general lack of movement and personal smoking preferences can lead to both obesity and hypertension. The statistics are shocking: 88% of truck drivers will suffer from obesity, hypertension, and smoking. Inactivity can trigger the development of these other conditions, resulting in an extremely unhealthy living environment.
- Stress: When you’re dealing with a heavy workload and a hectic work schedule, stress is to be expected. Truck drivers deal with both; because stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes (due to lifestyle changes), and depression, you may find life as a truck driver to be an endless cycle of bad behaviors that continue to trigger each other.
- Weather: Generally speaking, road conditions are a definite hazard for truck drivers. From powerful rain and snowstorms to extreme winds, even the most benign of weather events can pose a threat to drivers; hailstones the size of a golf ball (1.75 inches) can damage a vehicle, and can potentially force a driver to swerve either off the road or into another car. Tractor trailer drivers are unable to avoid these dangers because their job forces them to drive, regardless of most conditions.
Transportation Officers To The Rescue
Fortunately, people are beginning to pay attention to these crucial members of society and their working conditions. As part of the International Roadcheck 2019 campaign, Public Service Commission Transportation Officers in Princeton, West Virginia, performed traffic stops on commercial vehicles to conduct thorough investigations.
“Anything we do is to further the safety and operational safety of commercial vehicles,” said Public Information Specialist Karen Hall, with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. “Their safety ensures the safety of people who drive around them.” The Level One inspection consisted of 37-points; this year’s focus was on suspension systems and steering. However, other items (including tires, lights, and safety straps) were also inspected. The officers also paid attention drivers’ sleep schedules.
There are an estimated six million car accidents each year; since tractor trailer drivers spend the majority of their time on the road, it isn’t surprising to hear that they are particularly susceptible to these events, in addition to working conditions that encourage poor health. Only with the implementation of more public transportation inspections can we ensure that our nation’s transportation experts are taken care of.