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New study links high trucker weight to increased accident risk

A recent study confirms that there is a direct link between a commercial truck driver's body mass index and his or her likelihood of being involved in a crash. The study found that obese truck drivers were 43 to 55 percent more likely to be involved in a crash than truckers with a BMI in the normal range.

The study followed 744 new truck drivers employed by a commercial carrier and logged their height and weight at the beginning of their career. They calculated each driver's BMI, classifying those with a BMI over 25 as "overweight" and those with a BMI over 30 "obese." The study followed their careers for two years.

The data showed that drivers with a very high BMI were at a significantly higher risk of being involved in an accident. During their first two years on the road, drivers who were identified as "severely obese," who had a BMI of 35 or higher, were much more likely to have a crash. The risk was not magnified, however, for drivers who were simply overweight or obese to a lesser extent.

The study has not offered any explanation for this link but there are several options. It may be that heavier drivers are less able to respond quickly if something unexpected happens on the road. Obese truckers are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that could leave drivers exhausted , more likely to drive while drowsy and less able to focus.

If you or someone you love have been injured in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney with experience in truck accident cases. They can help you review your case and seek any appropriate compensation for your injuries.

Source: Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine, "Link Discovered Between Driver Obesity and Crash Risk," Nov. 8, 2012

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