Survey addresses growing health care concerns among drivers

| 7/23/2007

Rising health problems among professional drivers was the focus of a recent survey conducted by the Professional Drivers Medical Depots, a health care network designed to offer convenient and affordable health care for truckers.

PDMD, which has opened two clinics in travel centers in Knoxville, TN, and West Memphis, AR, and plans to open as many as 80 clinics in travel centers nationwide, surveyed nearly 2,000 professional drivers to find out their top health concerns.

According to the survey’s findings, many truck drivers responding said they spend an average of 20 to 30 nights per month out on the road and are concerned it has taken a toll on their health. Approximately 65 percent of drivers rated their health as fair or poor, and 85 percent rated their top health care concerns as developing heart disease or diabetes.

Access to health care is an ongoing problem for professional drivers, according to the PDMD survey – 76 percent of drivers responding to the survey said they would use health care facilities at travel centers if available, and more than 56 percent of drivers who participated in the survey said they have problems utilizing health care services while at home.

In addition, 47 percent said they lacked a regular health care provider and 32 percent were unable to receive needed health care within the last year.

According to the survey, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise may contribute to the high number of truck drivers who are at risk for developing sleep apnea. According to the survey, 70 percent of professional drivers are at a high risk for sleep apnea, which has triggered PDMD to launch the “largest sleep-related study in the industry.” The study will begin Aug. 1.

“Heart disease and diabetes are often interrelated, and as you can imagine, given some of their occupational risks, the numbers are even higher for professional drivers than among the average population,” said Dr. John McElligott, chairman and CEO of PDMD, in the PDMD press release. “And without regular medical care, these conditions, which could be diagnosed, monitored and treated, are often left until it is too late.”

Also concerning, according to the survey, is the fact that 70 percent of the drivers said they knew a fellow driver who died between the ages of 40 and 60 years old.

For complete survey results call (865) 238-0288 or to find out more information about PDMD, click here.