Truck Driver’s health moves to the forefront

It’s a well-known fact that truck drivers, traditionally, do not have the healthiest of lifestyles.

Long hours behind the wheel, erratic sleep patterns and a steady diet of truck stop food led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to write that long-haul truck drivers face “a constellation of chronic disease risk factors.”

But when it comes to what’s really discouraging drivers from staying in the industry, University of Pennsylvania professor Steve Viscelli, who studies labor markets and automation, pointed to the health risks involving a sedentary lifestyle and poor food availability.

“The salaries are not high enough to justify the number of hours worked and the health, family, and social consequences of this work,” Viscelli told Business Insider.

Facing a severe driver shortage, and needing to recruit a new generation of drivers, the industry is responding to the situation.

Pilot Flying J and UrgentCareTravel formed a partnership to provide medical services at six Pilot Flying J locations with another eight scheduled to open this summer.

“The drivers are a very underserved population. When they’re driving their big rigs, there’s no place to park. Imagine a walk-in clinic at Pilot Flying J with a hundred truck parking spots,” Mitch Strobin, vice president of service management for UrgentCareTravel, told Convenience Store News. “You really solve a key issue facing the drivers.”

The life of an average truck driver involves hours of being sedentary and can lead to serious health issues that require more frequent medical care, he noted.

“We see about 50 percent of the drivers on the road today have a serious preexisting condition — hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol — that limits the license they need to drive a truck,” said Strobin. “And that impacts their revenue, their ability to earn income if it’s not treated.”

At the UrgentCareTravel clinics, drivers can make primary care visits and receive services like flu and tetanus shots. The clinics also provide a place for drivers to get their Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals, which are required for every driver on the road today.

Additionally, personalized care plans are available at the clinics and are specifically designed for drivers who are managing common chronic diseases like hypertension.

Rolling Strong and Enrollment First

Another private solution that has emerged is the recent partnership announced between Rolling Strong and insurance solutions provider Enrollment First to offer insurance benefits options to owner-operators and fleets with independent contractors.

Rolling Strong is a provider of driver wellness programs for trucking companies and drivers. Its partnership with Enrollment First will provide choice in insurance products for drivers and fleets. Under the agreement, Rolling Strong will promote Enrollment First to its platform users and current and new Enrollment First customers will have automatic access to the Rolling Strong health and wellness platform.

Enrollment First’s health benefits coverage lines will offer wellness and preventive visits without a co-pay or deductible. Other optional plans include dental and vision coverage, and life insurance, as well as other options.

“Rolling Strong is always striving to focus on the health of truck drivers, so this partnership is a natural fit,” said Hazen Mirts, president and chief executive officer of Enrollment First. “Our insurance coverage benefits are in line with their mission of promoting a healthier lifestyle for drivers. With Rolling Strong, our customers have better access to wellness engagement tools while they are on the road.”

Rolling Strong, a driver wellness focused company, has announced a mobile health and wellness platform to help improve driver health, safety, and retention.

Rolling Strong was acquired by Velociti in March, and the company says that the move was a catalyst for developing a mobile health and wellness platform for truckers. Stephen Kane, president, worked with Velociti to combine mobile technology with Rolling Strong’s CDL wellness program.

“Driver health and wellness is a key issue getting a lot of attention,” said Kane. “However, until now there hasn’t been a tangible program to fully address the needs or the importance of the situation. The new Rolling Strong health and wellness platform is truly built for drivers and is designed to address the concerns over their health and safety.”

The new platform can be accessed from iOS and Android smart devices as well as in-cab computing systems. The Rolling Strong health and wellness platform provides drivers with guidance and real-time tracking of meals, exercise, sleep, and other metrics. Rewards and gaming features have been integrated into the platform, so drivers and transportation providers can create and participate in wellness challenges and competitions.