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Medical conditions linked to increased truck accident risk

Most Georgia residents know that the road to good health is paved with regular exercise and sound nutrition, but following a healthy lifestyle can be difficult for commercial truck drivers who spend eight or more hours behind the wheel each day. Heart disease and diabetes are among the leading causes of death in the United States, and researchers from the University Of Utah School Of Medicine say that suffering from these and other conditions can make truck drivers far more likely to be involved in accidents.

The researchers looked for medical conditions that could influence driving like obesity and lower back pain when they studied the medical records of about 50,000 commercial vehicle drivers. They then compared these findings with crash histories and determined that suffering from three or more of these 'flagged conditions" increased accident risks fourfold. Researchers say that they took factors such as age and experience into account. After being released online on Jan. 10, the study was published in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Accident data indicates that the crash rate for truck drivers as a whole is 29 accidents for every 100 million miles covered, but that figure jumps to 93 accidents per 100 million miles when drivers suffer from three or more of the medical conditions studied. The lead author of the study said that more research was called for because other road users suffer injuries in about two-thirds of all semi truck accidents.

Experienced personal injury attorneys may study a great deal of data before initiating litigation on behalf of truck accident victims, and the health records of the drivers involved could be brought up during settlement discussions in certain situations. Attorneys could also scrutinize police reports to determine what may have caused the accident in question as well as the cellphone records of the driver involved in cases where distraction is suspected.

Source: University of Utah Health Care, "How Safe is That Driver Next to You? A Trucker's Poor Health Could Increase Crash Risk", Jan. 17, 2017

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