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by | November 5, 2012

hwyaccidentIn an effort to improve the health of truck drivers across the country and reduce the risk of trucking accidents in Tennessee and other U.S. states, many trucking companies are embracing programs designed to promote healthier lifestyles and help get truck drivers into better physical shape. There are thousands of 18-wheelers and semi-trucks traveling on Tennessee roadways at any given time, and when the drivers behind the wheel of these massive vehicles suffer from driver fatigue or health issues like sleep apnea – commonly afflicting overweight individuals – the consequences can be devastating for other TN motorists. If you have suffered injuries in a serious trucking accident in Tennessee, contact our qualified trucking accident lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates today to discuss your legal options.

Truck Drivers Required to Pass Physical Exam

From commercial trucking companies participating in wellness and weight-loss programs, to gyms being installed at truck stops, a considerable effort has been made in recent years to improve the health and fitness of commercial truck drivers. “I think a lot of trucking companies are coming around to the idea that their drivers are their assets,” said Boyd Stephenson of the American Trucking Association. In addition to healthier employees helping a trucking company’s bottom line though, staying fit may even help drivers keep their jobs. Every two years, truck drivers must pass a physical exam required by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees the operation of the trucking industry. During the physical, they are examined for conditions that might cause them to be a safety risk behind the wheel, including serious heart conditions, respiratory disorders and high blood pressure.

Dangers of Driver Fatigue and Sleep Apnea

Although there are no weight restrictions for truck drivers, an employee who has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and is not receiving treatment will not pass the exam. Sleep apnea – a more common condition among overweight individuals – leads to daytime fatigue, which can pose a serious danger during long work days. In addition to medical conditions, other important elements related to truck driver health are eating habits and exercise – two major obstacles for drivers who remain seated behind the wheel of a truck for hours at a time. In an effort to reduce the impact of these factors on a driver’s health, truck stop chains have launched a program that includes placing free gyms in truck stops, building basketball courts, offering healthier eating options, and mapping walking routes near truck stops.

Contact Our TN Trucking Accident Lawyers

According to vice president of human resources for Con-way Freight, the company’s wellness program has reduced the number of workers who call in sick, controlled health care costs and reduced the risk of workplace injuries. “We know we have an audience out there that needs help,” said Snap Fitness gym’s founder, Peter Taunton, who plans to install gyms inside certain trucks stops in Tennessee by the end of the year. In addition to making the workplace safer for employees, improving the health of truck drivers in Tennessee can also help curb deadly trucking accidents caused by factors like driver fatigue and medical conditions such as sleep apnea. If you have been injured in a major trucking accident in Nashville, or elsewhere in Tennessee, contact our qualified trucking accident attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to explore your compensation options.

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