Safety Issues


Long Haul Truck Driver Survey of Safety and Health

Long-haul truck drivers experience more health conditions that make illness more likely compared to U.S. adult workers, based on results from a 2010 national survey of long haul truck drivers. 

Long-haul truck drivers reported behaviors that increase their chance for future health problems.

  • About 7 out of 10 long-haul truck drivers surveyed were obese (Body Mass Index [BMI] of 30 or higher) – twice the number of U.S. adult workers that were obese. 
  • More than half of long-haul truck drivers surveyed were current cigarette smokers – over twice the number of current cigarette smokers among all other U.S. adult workers. 
  • Long-haul truck drivers surveyed were twice as likely to have diabetes compared to all other U.S. adult workers

Work environment can contribute to a higher chance for health problems.

  • Long-haul truck drivers spend most of their time driving alone. They face challenges such as long hours worked on the job, tight schedules, and short-time spent at home that can increase stress, fatigue, sleepiness, and other health problems.
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 long-haul truck drivers drove alone.
  • Drivers worked an average 60 hours during a 7-day period. Over 40 hours were spent driving.

In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted a national survey of long-haul truck drivers to better understand the combined effects of these health conditions, behaviors, and work environments on safety and health. The Long Haul Truck Driver Survey questionnaire was designed to focus on factors which may account for a significant burden of occupational ill health and injury among Long Haul Truck Drivers. Topics included: the work environment, work history and driving practices, health conditions and risk factors, health insurance coverage, sleep, and demographics. Truck drivers were eligible for the survey if they: (1) had driven a truck with three or more axles as their main job for 12 months or more, and (2) took at least one mandatory 10-hr rest period away from home during each delivery run. The survey was conducted via personal interview at truck stops throughout the United States. Of the total 5,514 individuals approached by interviewers for participation in the survey, 1,265 completed the personal interview and 960 had height and weight measurements taken.

This study suggests a need for targeted interventions to meet the health needs of Long Haul Truck Drivers.

  • Obesity has been associated with heart disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea 
  • Smoking is a strong risk factor for lung cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.

More results from the Long Haul Truck Driver Survey on health and safety issues will be published later this year

Safety Issues is presented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in partnership with the National Truckers Association (NTA).  NIOSH is the U.S. federal agency that conducts research and develops recommendations to prevent all kinds of occupational injuries and illnesses. NIOSH uses the results of its research to communicate prevention information to employers, workers, and others who are in a position to make changes to improve safety and health for workers. This month’s Safety Issues was contributed by the NORA Transportation Warehousing and Utilities Sector in cooperation with researchers from the NIOSH Long Haul Truck Driver Safety and Health Survey Team. Further information can be found at Work Place Safety and Health Topic: LONG-HAUL TRUCK DRIVERS