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Poor health means increased crash risk for Louisiana truckers

Researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine have discovered a link between high crash risk among truckers and the presence of one or more health conditions. Having analyzed the medical and crash histories of approximately commercial truck drivers across the U.S., they found that 34 percent suffered from at least one condition that was previously connected with poor driving performance.

Those with three or more medical conditions had a much greater risk of being in a crash, with a total of 82 drivers in the highest risk group. For every 100 million miles these truckers drove, there was an average of 93 crashes resulting in injuries. Among all drivers, that number was 29.

Conditions can range from anxiety and high blood pressure to heart disease, diabetes, and lower back pain. Truck drivers are known for developing medical issues because of their lifestyle, which requires long hours of sitting and leaves little time for sleeping or eating right. The problem, according to the authors of the study, is that trucking companies tend to think of each health condition in isolation. Without a working knowledge of how multiple conditions act together to affect health, companies wind up allowing drivers on the road who are a danger to themselves and others.

A collision with an 18-wheeler can lead to traumatic injuries to occupants of other vehicles, in large part due to the overwhelming size and weight of big rigs. If it can be determined that the accident was somehow connected with the poor health of the trucker, and that the trucking company was aware of the condition but still allowed the driver to remain working, then an attorney might find it advisable to file a suit against the carrier on an injured victim's behalf.

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