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The Five Most Common Truck Driver Health Problems

Updated: May 9

Portrait of tired truck driver feeling sleepy and sick to demonstrate Truck Driver Health Problems
The Five Most Common Truck Driver Health Problems

The Five Most Common Truck Driver Health Problems

Truck driving is a demanding profession that often involves long hours on the road and a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, these factors contribute to a higher risk of various health problems for truck drivers. In this blog, we will explore the top five truck driver health problems – obesity, diabetes, smoking-related issues, hypertension, and sleep disorders. By understanding these challenges, trucking companies can implement proactive measures to promote the health and well-being of their drivers.

Five Common Illnesses Truck Drivers Face

While truck drivers are susceptible to many different types of health problems, the top five are the most common. Though they may vary in degree of severity, it depends on the driver's health and lifestyle that determines how these can affect a driver's life.


Obesity is a prevalent health concern among truck drivers. The combination of limited physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle contributes to weight gain and the accumulation of excess body fat. A study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that nearly 69% of long-haul truck drivers were obese. 

Truck drivers spend extended periods sitting behind the wheel, often relying on convenience foods and fast food options high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sugar.

To combat obesity, truck drivers should prioritize regular exercise, even if it's as simple as taking short walks during rest breaks. Incorporating strength training exercises, such as bodyweight exercises or using resistance bands, can also be beneficial. 

Adopting a well-balanced diet packed with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains and avoiding excessive fast food or sugary snacks can help manage weight. 

Trucking companies can also support their drivers by offering healthy food options at rest stops, encouraging access to fitness facilities, or promoting exercise programs.


Truck drivers are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to obesity, poor dietary choices, and irregular eating patterns. This chronic condition can lead to serious truck driver health problems if left unmanaged. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), truck drivers have higher rates of obesity, smoking, and hypertension, all of which are risk factors for diabetes.

To prevent or manage diabetes, truck drivers must monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, adhere to a diabetic-friendly diet, engage in physical activity, and take prescribed medications as directed.

Trucking companies can offer resources and educational materials on diabetes management, encourage regular health check-ups, and provide access to healthcare professionals who specialize in diabetes care. 

Additionally, promoting healthier food options at truck stops and rest areas can contribute to improved dietary choices. Drivers may not always be able to choose what a truck stop carries for food, but usually, there are some healthier choices available if you know where to look.

Smoking-Related Issues

Smoking is a prevalent problem among truck drivers, posing significant health risks. The combination of stress, long hours on the road, and boredom can lead some drivers to turn to cigarettes or tobacco for relief. 

Smoking and Tobacco use increases the risk of various truck driver health problems, including respiratory issues, heart disease, and certain cancers. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, approximately 51% of long-haul truck drivers are current smokers.

Encouraging programs that help drivers quit smoking, providing resources for nicotine replacement therapies, and offering support to stop smoking can significantly improve the health of truck drivers. 

Trucking companies can partner with organizations that specialize in helping people stop smoking, provide information on the detrimental effects of smoking, and offer incentives for drivers who successfully quit smoking. 

Creating a supportive and smoke-free work environment can contribute to the overall well-being of truck drivers.


High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common health issue among truck drivers, and it can sneak up on you. Stress, poor dietary choices, lack of exercise, and irregular sleep patterns contribute to this condition. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), truck drivers have a higher prevalence of hypertension than other occupations.

Regular monitoring of blood pressure, lifestyle modifications (such as reducing sodium intake and adopting a heart-healthy diet), regular exercise, and stress management techniques can help manage hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications. 

Trucking companies can promote blood pressure monitoring by providing resources such as blood pressure cuffs and encouraging drivers to check their readings regularly. Implementing wellness programs that include physical activity, nutrition education, and stress reduction techniques can also positively impact blood pressure management and reduce truck driver health problems.

Sleep Disorders

Truck drivers often face irregular sleep patterns due to demanding schedules, long working hours, and the nature of the job. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia, are prevalent among truck drivers and can seriously affect their health and safety.

According to a study published in the Sleep Medicine journal, approximately 28% of commercial motor vehicle drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea.

Trucking companies should prioritize education and awareness about sleep disorders, encourage drivers to seek diagnosis and treatment, and promote healthy sleep habits. Providing information on sleep hygiene, creating policies that allow for regular and uninterrupted sleep breaks, and collaborating with healthcare providers to offer sleep disorder screenings and treatment options can significantly improve the well-being of truck drivers.

Truck Driver Health Problems Can Be Avoided

Truck drivers face several health challenges directly related to their profession's nature. Obesity, diabetes, smoking-related issues, hypertension, and sleep disorders are among the most common health problems encountered by truck drivers, most of these complications are entirely avoidable.

Truck drivers and trucking companies can take proactive steps to promote a healthier lifestyle by understanding these health issues and their associated risks.

Trucking companies should provide resources and support to help truck drivers make healthier choices, such as offering nutritious food options at rest stops, encouraging regular exercise, giving access to healthcare professionals, and promoting programs that help drivers quit smoking. 

Additionally, implementing wellness programs, creating a supportive work environment, and prioritizing education on healthy sleep habits can significantly contribute to truck drivers' overall health and well-being.

By investing in driver health, trucking companies can improve the quality of life for their employees and enhance safety on the roads.

Likewise, drivers can research truck stops along a route with healthier options for food, areas to walk or exercise, and generally watch what they eat. Most of these health issues are preventable with some discipline and planning.

Looking for an Exciting Career Change?

We always seek capable and energetic drivers, maintenance experts, and dispatch personnel at Veltri. Come work for us; we will be a company that equally cares about your well-being and job performance!


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