Since 1997, our goal is that of striving to improve the health and wellness of truck drivers, both independent owner/operators and fleet drivers. I saw the prevalence of bad health in the trucking industry before it became acknowledged as an industry-wide issue of great significance and formed Healthy Trucking of America and later the Healthy Transportation Foundation.
Due to the nature of their profession, this community — seven million professional truck drivers and 770,000 Department of Transportation Certified Fleets — is subject to environmental stressors, adverse work conditions and limited opportunities to exercise.
Unfortunately, this lifestyle often manifests itself in poor diets, with many truckers often eating pre-packaged meals in the cabs of their trucks or at fast food restaurants along their routes. As a result, these professionals experience a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome with associated diseases and conditions spanning obesity, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, vision loss, liver health, sleep apnea and related metabolic conditions.
Today, there is a pressing need for strategies to help keep professional drivers and other transport workers at peak health so they can remain productive and stay safe behind the wheel. Furthermore, maintaining an adequate pool of employees is an ongoing struggle for fleet owners, with serious health issues at the heart of driver turnover.
Currently, there is a shortage of professional drivers in the US, and the trucking industry reports it has about 80,000 fewer available drivers compared to last year. If current trends hold, the shortage could swell to over 160,000 by 2028. Moreover, the significant number of drivers suffering from poorly managed or uncontrolled chronic diseases has potential implications for safety of the American driving public.
Moreover, as part of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), professional drivers are required to pass bi-annual physical examinations, conducted by Certified Medical Examiners (CMEs.) Uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, vision loss, immune deficiencies, and sleep apnea are examples of the types of medical conditions that may preclude a driver from attaining licensure and continuing with their livelihood.
This untenable health situation and the safety threats they pose to not only the transportation industry and fleets, but also every American, prompted Healthy Trucking of America (HTA, formerly known as the Healthy Trucking Association of America) to take action. Since 1997, HTA has made its sole aim that of striving to improve the health and wellness of truck drivers, both independent owner/operators and fleet drivers.
HTA has served the health and wellness needs of professional drivers and through recruitment and intake of drivers in the National Diabetes Prevention Program have found the many chronic disease(s) to be common amongst the community.