$2.6M Study Devoted to Atlantic Trucker's Health Concerns

May 1, 2011

trucker to Trucker is the leading trucking website for sourcing trucks for sale and a very wide range of trucking equipment and services. Today, we're taking a look a new Canadian study researching why truckers are experiencing a reduced lifespan compared to the rest of the population:

University of Moncton professor, Michel Johnson, is conducting a study to find out why truckers in Atlantic Canada seem to have a life span that is 10 years under the norm.

The University of Moncton is located in New Brunswick, outside of Quebec, and has become very active in Acadian society. Johnson, an expert in the area of neurovascular physiology, got his PhD from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, and this study comes out of his work with the Interdisciplinary Research Program on Safe Driving and the initiatives of Candrive and Auto21.

While Johnson worries about the implications of this reduced life expectancy, so do the trucking companies. Johnson is quoted as saying about the Atlantic trucking population, "They're an interesting population. The average age is in the mid-50's now, and they are showing higher-than-expected incidences in cardiovascular disease and diabetes." Johnson says that while these things concern the trucking companies, they concern the health sciences industry as well.

Johnson will conduct his study using a test group of 1000 Atlantic Canadian truckers. He will look into their health habits, while his team will use mobile simulators to study the effects of the road. His team will also be interviewing drivers, asking about their health and habits. They will be looking into issues like sleep deprivation, stress problems, possible nutrition deficiencies, and if the lack of physical activity is contributing to this phenomenon. Are there slower reaction times, causing more accidents? It is proven that bad health can cause problems with driving. Sicknesses and poor health can make it hard for drivers to stay awake and alert for long hauls, and falling asleep at the wheel is a big problem.

Johnson has a Healthy Driver Toolkit app in the works that should help evaluate a driver's health, making it easier to catch problems and detect things that need to be corrected in a driver's habits. This application will be customized for trucking professionals, offering them a good way to handle their specialized working conditions. The analysis module of the application will also have a remediation module that will analyze driving skills, the attitude and attention of drivers, and the health of the driver, and will offer recommendations to truckers to help them improve their lifestyle, and subsequently help them stay healthy.

This study is backed by the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The study will be conducted over the course of a three year period.

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