A recent study out of the University of Minnesota on the “relationship between the body mass index (BMI) of trainee truckers and their risk of a vehicle accident on the job, controlling for demographic characteristics and for operational factors that affect the exposure to risk.” What the study reveals is that truckers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) score of 35 or above, are 50% more likely to be in an accident than a driver with a normal BMI (18.5 – 25).
One of the reasons the study says is the reason for this is that those with the extremely high BMI scores were more prone to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other fatigue causing conditions. These conditions can cause these obese drivers to fall asleep while they are on the road and can lead to accidents. Long-haul trucking routes already cause many drivers to become fatigued while on the road and because of conditions like OSA, a very obese driver is at a much higher risk of being in an accident.
This information is crucial to companies who hire and employ truck drivers. These drivers can be a very large risk for transportation companies and these companies spend a great deal of money to train them and to make sure they are capable of performing their jobs safely. Attorney Eric Hageman ends his article on this study by stating “Arguably, a trucking company that allows an excessively obese person to drive a commercial truck is negligently putting the other drivers on the road at risk of wrongful death and serious injury.”