Maintaining Drivers’ Health and Wellness

Truck drivers face unique health challenges, with long hours, stress, and poor sleep affecting their well-being. Over half of U.S. truck drivers are overweight or obese, leading to a higher risk of chronic pain, depression, and more. This takes a toll on their mental and physical health, impacting the industry. Learn how improving drivers' wellness can help alleviate these issues, from offering personal development allowances for healthier choices to creating health and wellness programs. Invest in your drivers' health and well-being, ensuring they stay safe and satisfied on the road.
trucker drivers

Truck drivers face unique challenges that often result in poor health outcomes. The long hours, stressful conditions, and lack of sleep put them at risk for a variety of medical issues. According to a survey done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over half (69%) of US truck drivers report being overweight or obese. This is over two times higher than the general population. Truck drivers also tend to suffer from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. They may also experience higher rates of injury and illness compared to other occupations. A healthy lifestyle can help truckers manage their mental and physical health, and stay safe on the road. Here are some tips for maintaining drivers’ health and wellness.

Challenges to Maintaining Drivers’ Health and Wellness

Drivers’ health and wellness are at risk every day. Drivers often have limited access to healthy food on the road. Fast food is far more prevalent along the United States interstate system, which is how more than 70% of freight moves through the country. Drivers spend hours and hours in a sedentary position. According to the FMCSA, property-carrying drivers can drive for up to 8 hours consecutively without taking a 30-minute break. 

With quick delivery expectations, many drivers do not have time to exercise when they are on duty. Drivers spend days and even weeks away from home and their loved ones, which takes a toll on both their mental and physical health. With all of these challenges, many drivers do not receive the typical 2-year DOT exam medical certificate due to varying health issues, like high levels of cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.

Tips for Improving Drivers’ Health and Wellness

Improving driver wellness is essential to maintaining the trucking industry. According to the American Trucking Association, there is a shortage of 80,000 professional drivers. This is due to boomer drivers retiring and many other drivers being ineligible to drive due to health issues. There are a variety of ways employers can work to improve driver health and wellness. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Personal Development Allowance

In an attempt to improve drivers’ health and wellness, some trucking companies started offering a small personal development allowance. This allowance can be used to cover a gym membership, healthy food on the road, sleep aides like dark curtains, or home workout equipment. Companies use the personal development allowance to give employees the means to improve their health and wellness without dipping into their earnings.

Health and Wellness Incentives

Incentivizing health and wellness is used across many industries in the United States. Offering gift cards, cash prizes, or time off for healthy behavior is a great way to develop a culture of health and wellness amongst your drivers. You can have drivers collect their food receipts and reward drivers that chose healthy establishments or healthy food options. Additionally, encouraging employees to track their sleep schedule and reward them when they consistently get adequate sleep is another way to incentivize wellness.

Health and Wellness Program

Developing a wellness program is one of the best ways to maintain driver health and wellness. Health and wellness can be very private for some employees, so be sure to keep it positive, optional, and private. A health and wellness program can include encouraging healthy behaviors like healthy eating, exercise, and sleep, providing health clinics on-site, and offering DOT exams. The goal is to enhance the quality of life for your drivers. Ask your drivers to identify health challenges that they face daily and use this information to develop your company’s health and wellness program.

Be sure your health and wellness program covers both mental and physical health. Wellness programs not only improve employee health but also boost morale and reduces turnover rates. Drivers that feel cared for and appreciated are more likely to stay at their job!

Finding ways to maintain and improve driver health can be challenging. Reach out to Work Health Solutions today to improve your drivers’ health and wellness!

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

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Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
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Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
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Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

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  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
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  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
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Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
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  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.