Controversy Surrounds Study That Shows Drivers Have A Reduced Life Span

A new report released by The Department of Transportation claims that truck drivers have a reduced life expectancy than most other occupations.

The head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,  Anne Ferro and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have stated that the life expectancy of an over-the-road truck driver is 16 years less than the rest of the population. However, there is great controversy about the validity of their data.

At a meeting in November, attended by over 200 doctors, trucking executives, medical researchers, regulators and others, the issue came up during a discussion about driver health. Because of factors such as tobacco use, the sedentary nature of the job, irregular sleep patterns and poor nutrition there was much concern expressed. The meeting was held in Baltimore and lasted three days and was spent discussing the health of workers in the transportation industry such as truck and bus drivers.

Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control was used to explain why the life expectancy of a commercial over the road driver is actually slightly over 16 years shorter than the norm.

“We know that a broad range of medical research points to the health concerns that significantly impact the life expectancy of commercial drivers”, an FMCSA spokesperson said. There was no shortage of scientific evidence at the International Conference on Commercial Driver Health and Wellness.

According to Dr. Eric Wood of the University of Utah, his study of long-haul drivers found that 28% are hypertensive compared to 17% for manufacturing workers. Over half smoke tobacco, 25% had high cholesterol vs 16% in the manufacturing sector. Over 15% had sleep apnea and 10%  had diabetes compared to 5% of manufacturing workers.  Close to 60 percent of all commercial drivers are covered by health insurance.