Air Quality & Driver Sleep Trucking Health

Blog 4 Air Quality & Driver Sleep

In the previous 3 blogs we have looked at the bad news and good news of truck driving and health in the areas of diet and physical fitness.  In this 4th blog, we will look at improvements involving the areas of air quality and driver sleep for truckers.

Truck Driving & Improvements in Air Quality

Because diesel particulates are classified as carcinogens, the less the amount of diesel exhaust inhaled by truck drivers the better. Improvements in technology have been making for cleaner air in recent years.  In the not-too-distant future, images of semi tractors spewing black diesel exhaust may become a thing of the past.  Companies like Biagi Bros based out of Napa Valley, California have taken advantage of California’s recent environmental initiatives and are now running “clean” tractors; Biagi Bros refers to them as “green machines”. The exhaust is comprised of hydrogen and water; these freightliners actually leave cleaner air in their wake. (Biagi Green – Going Leaner & Greener) Other trucking companies are getting on board.  Not only is the investment in eco-friendly semi-trucks good for the environment, it is also good for the health of truckers. 

What about the prevalence of cigarette smoking and air quality in the cab of trucks?

It just makes sense that smoking adds to the pulmonary burden faced by truck drivers already exposed to higher diesel particulate levels. While trucking companies do not impose punitive measures on drivers who do smoke, one of the common perks of being a non-smoker – aside from the cost savings – is being first in line to get a new truck when one comes into the fleet.

Anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows how difficult it is.  As with any addiction, support groups can be very helpful.  The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund offers a smoking cessation program called “Rigs Without Cigs”.  The truck driving population is able to tap into a support system tailored for them.

Sleep Apnea & Improvements in Sleep Quality & Quantity

air quality & driver sleepIt is up to the DOT physical examiner to determine if a truck driver is going to require sleep apnea testing.  Because obstructive sleep apnea can adversely affect both sleep quality and quantity it is important to be tested and seek treatment when required.  There is a direct correlation between sleep apnea and body mass index (BMI).  Measures taken to improve diet and physical fitness resulting in weight loss, stress reduction, and improved cardiovascular health will naturally spill over into the area of sleep.

Sleep quality can also be adversely affected by noise pollution.  Many newer tractors are being built with improvements in acoustics which reduce noise in cabs.  Enhanced security measures also enable a driver to fully rest during down time by reducing anxiety over safety and security.

Changes in regulations have reduced the amount of hours that a trucker can drive in a shift.  Nonetheless, the tension between profit and work-life balance – including adequate time for self-care – remains ever-present in the trucking industry. Higher pay helps mitigate the tension between profit and work-life balance part of which includes good sleep hygiene practices. 

One of the advantages of working for a successful logistics company is the access to high-end equipment and an optimal work-life balance enabling truckers to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the road.  At the end of the day though, it is up to every driver to adopt practices and look towards improvements which will help him or her to stay healthy for the long haul.

Biagi Bros

Biagi Bros is a full service, B-to-B logistics company based in Napa Valley, California with branches throughout the United States and South-East Asia.
If you would like information regarding freight forwarding or warehousing, or if you are interested in working for a company that cares about the environment, people and a job well done in every area of life, contact Biagi Bros.


St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund

CPAP: 8 Common Sleep Apnea & DOT Compliance Questions Answered

NIOSH: Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers

AHA:  Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease

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