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July 10, 2014

DOT Training – Driver Wellness Is Important for the Safety of Everyone on the Roads

Driver77739405Anyone considering a career as a commercial driver knows you need a special classification of driving license to be employed. A written test and a drive with a transportation official to demonstrate the appropriate skills? Of course you’ll have to do that to get your license, but did you realize that driver wellness is part of the training mix as well?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, entry-level driver training must include instruction addressing driver wellness, in which they include “basic health maintenance including diet and exercise [and] the importance of avoiding excessive use of alcohol.”

Extended, stressful hours on the road, limited healthy food choices, long periods of sitting — it all adds up to driver fatigue and potential negative health impacts. A 2011 article in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health looked at “25 trucking work settings designed to examine whether the environmental attributes of these settings influence eating patterns of truckers who are at risk for excess weight gain":

"Findings corroborate evidence that these work settings represent healthy food deserts. From restaurants and vending machines to the social information environments and their surrounding communities, only meager opportunities exist for healthful eating practices.”

In the proceedings from a 2003 conference sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Trucking Industry Program and the Trucking Industry Benchmarking Program at Wayne State University, the authors make it clear that truck drivers are at serious health risk:

“Truck drivers merit special attention not only because of their large numbers—approximately 2.8 million in the U.S.—but also because they face extraordinary risk of on-the-job injury and death. In 2004, U.S. truck drivers were 7 times more likely to die on the job, and 2.5 times more likely to suffer an occupational injury or illness, than was the average worker.” 

If you are a driver or are responsible for the safety of your driving team at your organization, Summit’s online DOT: Driver Wellness program has the info you need to ensure this unique work environment is as safe as possible:

DOT: Driver Wellness 
Addresses FMCSA Parts 392, 393, and 396

Ensure your drivers health and wellbeing isn’t negatively affected by their lifestyle choices, job duties and the ergonomic factors of driving a truck. Summit’s DOT safety training program covers:

• Job duties including stress, fatigue, and exposure

• Work environment and ergonomic factors

• Lifestyle hazards such as poor diet, smoking and hypertension

FInd out More about Summit Training Source

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