July 11, 2007 1:30 PM, EDT

Trucking Firms Working to Keep Drivers Healthy

Imrovements Can Mean a Better Bottom Line

Trucking firms are taking more measures to help the health of drivers, helping to boost both drivers’ welfare and their own bottom lines, the Associated Press reported.

The Transportation Research Board is researching drivers’ health issues and American Trucking Associations believes many companies are taking steps in improving health to contain high health care costs, AP reported.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also is considering tightening rules for drivers regarding medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, AP said.

Government figures show that the trucking industry has the most fatalities of all industries, and drivers, who often load and unload their cargo, can also get a high number of strains and other injuries, AP said.

AP reported that:

Schneider National screened about two-thirds of its 15,000 drivers for sleep apnea, a disorder than can interfere with sleeping patterns and thus hamper sleep-deprived drivers on the road. The company provided the 10% of those tested who had the disorder with special masks to help them sleep better.

Con-way Freight has seen its annual workers’ compensation claims drop by 80% and lost work days decline 75% in the Los Angeles area since starting a wellness program there two years ago.

Celadon Group has stationed nurses at its main facility in Indianapolis and encourages its more than 3,000 drivers to get blood pressure and cholesterol checks. The company said it has trimmed $10 million from its annual health care costs.