Driver health is essential to overall fleet safety and performance, but unfortunately, industry-wide driver health is often very poor and unaddressed. A study of over 300 drivers with five or more years of experience discovered:
- 83.4% were overweight/obese
- 70% did not exercise regularly
- 56.3% experienced fatigue
- 40% had cardiovascular disease concerns
These numbers paint a dire picture for the trucking industry’s health, which can have serious consequences on your fleet’s overall performance. Fleets that take steps to improve driver health outcomes can expect a number of benefits, including:
- Less crashes and fewer incidents resulting from fatigue
- Simplified recruiting with a reputation for offering drivers a higher quality of life and health
- Reduced turnover because healthy drivers are happier drivers and they know you are concerned for their well-being
- Lower insurance costs from reducing your incidents and turnover
Fortunately, there are verified actions you can take to improve your drivers’ health, both physical and mental.
Improving Your Drivers’ Physical Health
Poor physical health in the driver-population comes from three realities of driver-life:
- Unhealthy food choices at rest stops
- Sedentary working conditions with few exercise options available
- High exposure to diesel exhaust and other pollutants
Though these factors are nearly universal for drivers, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are proactive steps your fleet can take to mitigate these dangers, including:
- Provide resources on bodyweight exercises, running, or even fast walking
- Petition trade groups to lobby for healthy food options at rest stops
- Consider investing in electric or low-exhaust trucks for fleets with the resources and operations available
- Stay ahead on equipment maintenance to keep diesel exhaust systems clear
By taking these simple steps, you can help your drivers be physically more healthy, improve your fleet, and make the trucking industry safer and more effective as a whole.
Equally as important is addressing your drivers’ mental health.
Improving Your Drivers’ Mental Health
Depression and anxiety have been ongoing issues for the trucking industry, with 13% of drivers surveyed saying they experience depressive symptoms.
A study analyzing a fleet of 1,500 short-haul drivers found that driver stress is associated with a 50% higher chance of a driver experiencing a preventable crash. Common stressors expressed by surveyed drivers include:
- 66% did not have enough savings to cover 60 days of expenses
- 33% reported having financial stress
- 57.9% experienced regular sleep disturbances, significantly correlating with poor physical and mental health outcomes
Even when controlling for factors like tenure, conscientiousness, and job satisfaction, drivers exhibiting financial stress are at increased risk for a crash.
These numbers demonstrate the seriousness of the mental health crisis in trucking and the impact it has on fleet safety. To combat this epidemic, fleets can:
- Provide drivers with resources on financial security
- Allow drivers to pay into retirement plans
- Offer insurance plans that contain remote talk-therapy as an available treatment
- Schedule routes which encourage drivers to sleep at the same time each day
- Address depression in your fleet to avoid its hidden dangers
By following these steps and addressing the specific trends your drivers exhibit, your fleet can unlock the benefits of a healthier, more competitive workforce. Unfortunately, these trends aren’t always easy to spot across the board, but having a comprehensive driver management platform which analyzes data from your third-party systems and reveals relevant trends within can greatly simplify the process.
The Idelic Safety Suite has more integrations than any other platform in the industry, pulling in data from every single system your fleet uses while also letting managers add and edit your driver data without ever leaving Safety Suite.
Watch a 2-minute demo video and learn how you can simplify your safety here.
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