Truck driver health has always been an issue given the nature of the job. Despite the fact that truck drivers suffer many similar conditions common in the general population (heart disease and diabetes for example), they suffer these conditions more frequently and with greater severity. The question one might ask is why? Many possible causes can be identified from dietary concerns, stress, the physical demands of driving a truck and more. One common issue that leads to a higher incidence of chronic medical problems, common to all types of professional drivers is prolonged sitting.
Trying to figure out what medications will affect a driver’s ability to pass their DOT physical examination can be a confusing and stressful task for a driver or motor carrier. The first thought that comes to mind is that there is some sort of “magic bullet” that will provide a quick and easy answer to this question. Unfortunately this is not the case. There is more to it than simply being able to look up a medication and then having an answer. It involves not only a regulation or guidance provided by the FMCSA (of which there is very little in a way to help guide us through this issue), but also the treating provider and the decision making process employed by the medical examiner.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher risk of many chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. According to Harvard Medical School, people with hypertension, one night without enough sleep can cause elevated blood pressure (an issue for truck drivers) throughout the next day.
A recent report released in April by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) indicates that despite the good intentions of the FMCSA in implementing the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME), its impact on the trucking industry has apparently been more negative than positive, without accomplishing the desired results that were expected from additional training and certification for medical examiners.
Blood pressure has long been a source of stress for the truck driver. It is frequently referred to as the silent killer by many of us who work in health care.