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Drivers' Health Correlates to Crash Risk

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Commercial truck drivers with three or more medical conditions carry at least double the crash risk for compared to healthier drivers, reports a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and led by investigators at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

This study’s examination of medical records from 49,464 commercial truck drivers finds evidence that the more health problems a driver has, the more crash risk he or she may carry.

Matching drivers’ medical and crash histories revealed that drivers with at least three of the flagged conditions were more likely to have been involved in a crash. The investigators found that this group was at higher risk for different categories of crashes, including accidents that caused injury, and that could have been avoided.

“What these data are telling us is that with decreasing health comes increased crash risk, including crashes that truck drivers could prevent,” says the study’s lead author Matthew Thiese, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.

The new findings could mean that one health condition, say diabetes, is manageable, but diabetes in combination with high blood pressure and anxiety could substantially increase a driver’s risk. The results indicate that improving driver health is an important piece of improving highway safety.

“If we can better understand the interplay between driver health and crash risk, then we can better address safety concerns,” says the study’s senior author Kurt Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H., director of RMCOEH.




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