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Why Do Truck Drivers End Up With Disabling Injuries?

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As a truck driver, you're used to putting in more hours behind the wheel than the average American worker can imagine. Even if you've adapted to life on the road, your health will say otherwise, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to the FMCSA, working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers.

These are all factors that could lead to a disabling injury, end your career and burden you with medical bills. Here's what you need to know about truck driver injuries, the possibility of disability and how to protect yourself and your livelihood.

What kind of injuries do truckers suffer?

Truck drivers are more likely to suffer back and neck injuries than the average U.S. worker. Why? The job requirements and lifestyle associate with truck driving don't do you any medical favors.

How back and neck injuries can happen:

  • As the result of accidents involving a tractor trailer and a passenger vehicle
  • The vibration of the truck and continuous bouncing of your seat
  • Repetitive stress: sitting for long periods of time, bending and lifting heavy cargo, jumping up and down from the truck cab or onto a loading dock
  • Loading and unloading: moving heavy objects, slipping or tripping while handling cargo

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Back and neck injuries aren't the only ailments that can leave truck drivers disabled. Other diseases and conditions that result from your eating and self-care habits may render you disabled as well.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health interviewed 1,670 drivers at 32 truck stops throughout 20 states for its 2014 survey. Check out what they discovered in the graphic to the right.

These risk factors greatly increase your chance of experiencing an endless list of disabling chronic illnesses or injuries.

What can you do?

Paramount Freight Systems recommends these tips for preventing injuries and improving your health:

  • When lifting heavy objects, use mechanical lifts, wear a back brace for support, and get assistance from others when you can.
  • Use proper lifting techniques - bend at the knees, not your back.
  • Make sure loading areas are clean and dry to prevent slips and falls.
  • Frequently break to stretch and take a quick rest. If you drink a lot of caffeine or take stimulants, your body will eventually face the "crash" and exhaustion will take over.
  • Exercise regularly - at minimum, try basic stretching three times a week.
  • Take care of yourself on days off - get extra rest, eat well and continue to exercise.

Your second line of defense should be a strong long-term disability insurance policy. Consider an own-occupation policy, which would make you eligible for benefits if you are unable to continue driving a truck as the result of your disability. Consult your trusted insurance agent or broker when determining what type of disability coverage will best suit your needs.

Have questions about what your policy says or what the fine print means? DarrasLaw offers free consultations on all disability insurance matters, including free policy analysis, free case evaluation and free claim help.

Want more information? Check out our resources:

More About Truck Driver Disability Claims

Why Insurance Companies Deny Truck Driver Disability Claims

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