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Study shows even minor health issues endanger truck drivers

Investigators at the University of Utah School of Medicine have published a study finding links between the medical histories and crash records of commercial truck drivers. The records of 49,464 drivers in New Jersey and across the U.S. were examined to produce the following conclusions.

Drivers with three or more medical conditions double, and sometimes quadruple, their chances of being in an accident. Such drivers meet with an average of 93 accidents for every 100 million miles they drive. For all the drivers in general, the number went down to 29.

About 34 percent of the drivers were found to have at least one medical condition that the authors link to poor driving performance, with 82 drivers in the highest risk group. The most noted conditions include diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and lower back pain. Many of these conditions are unavoidable when considering the average trucker's lifestyle as drivers tend to sit for long hours, eat unhealthy foods and have irregular sleeping patterns.

The study states that many of these accidents can be prevented if trucking companies make changes to their medical screening processes. Many think of medical conditions in isolation and only pull drivers who suffer from major conditions. What these companies do not understand, authors believe, is that some minor conditions can work together to diminish driver performance.

This is why many truck accidents are the fault of both truck drivers and their companies. Victims of such accidents should consult with a lawyer about filing a personal injury claim. The lawyer will hire professionals to recreate the accident scene, check the truck driver's medical records and find out if the victim contributed in any way to the accident. If the victim died in the accident, any contributory negligence on his or her part will bar a wrongful death action.

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