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Fighting Truck Driver Stress and Driver Wellness Helps Retention

undefinedReducing the effects of stress and diet on truck drivers will not only lead to better health for them but increase their performance and safety record behind the wheel. And, when fleets increase safety and performance, retention rates usually increase too.

Outside of educating drivers about healthy diets while driving, there isn’t much a fleet manager can do about diet. However, overall wellness starts with reducing the stress drivers have to deal with on the road. Statistics show a relationship between hectic schedules and accident causation. The FMCSA 33-month study into large truck crashes reviewed 141,000 accidents involving large trucks and found that drivers “feeling pressured” was one of the leading causes in at least 16 percent of the collisions. Fatigue and chronic stress were seen as primary contributing factors in 18 percent of crashes.

Stress Management for the Truck Driver

Although road stress and the stress of getting cargo where it needs to go are part of the industry, too tight schedules for those deliveries creates unnecessary stress on the driver. Especially after the shipper took four hours to load the cargo that was projected for two and traffic delays cause more time to tick off the clock.

Fleet management can do little about loading times, traffic, and weather but communicating to the driver about future loads and home/downtime can relieve some of the stress they feel. Also, stress release training such as meditation and deep-breathing during break times can help to release some stress. Apps can be an effective and free method of promoting stress management for over-the-road truck drivers.

Other excellent stress reduction techniques are relaxation and exercise before driving and during their 30-minute break. Quick range of motion stretching and a brisk walk around the parking lot can do a lot to reduce stress while on the road.

A regular exercise program while off-duty can increase blood flow and reduce the effects of stress on the body. A healthy exercise program is crucial to improve health., This, along with a healthier diet, could significantly reduce stress and increase productivity, safety, and retention.

Eating a healthy diet on the road is challenging, but not impossible. Start by ordering a salad and a bottle of water rather than a big box of fries and large syrupy drink. You can still enjoy that big burger but cut back on sugared drinks and the trans fats in fries. Too much fat will just sit in your stomach while driving and cause gastrointestinal problems later, even for young bus and truck drivers.

Making the Wellness – Retention Connection

While many trucking firm executives spend time and energy distressing about truck driver retention and safety, few make the connection between driver wellness, stress reduction, and higher retention and safety performance. Unsurprisingly, there are fewer professions that need nutritional guidance than truck drivers. Out on the road through most of their day, most of their access to meals are fast-food joints which offer mostly fried foods. And with little time for exercise, they need a regimen to stay healthy and reduce stress.

Most of these drivers already have fast food burning in their bellies from their last stop when someone in a Prius or Eon cuts them off. How can their blood pressure not go up? With all the turnover, shortages, safety issues, traffic tickets, and accidents, how can fleet managers not be more concerned with their drivers’ wellness?

However, it’s not as simple as saying you need to eat better and exercise more. Look at a truck driver’s lifestyle and honestly tell yourself that would be easy. Most truck drivers want to eat healthier and exercise more. They want to learn how to stay relaxed and avoid stress while driving. It just might be up to fleet management to give them the resources they need to do that. It might even be cheaper than training new drivers all the time.

One Other Stress & Retention Concern, Traffic Tickets

Another concern for all bus and truck drivers is the traffic ticket. On the Grapevine, the maximum speed limit for trucks and buses is 35 at the severe grade. When you get stopped for speeding on the Grapevine, doing 55 mph, because you missed the severe grade sign, that can be stressful. Many firms encourage drivers to participate in a driver’s “legal insurance” scheme that costs them hundreds per year. In many cases, what the driver gets instead of an individual top-quality traffic ticket attorney is a traffic lawyer who gets paid so little to handle each case and has such a big caseload that they do not have time to put together an individual strategy for your case.

Don’t get us wrong, public defenders are necessary for those who can’t afford a lawyer, but if they are paying top dollar for an on-call lawyer, they should get a top-quality local traffic attorney who regularly practices traffic law in Lamont Traffic Court.

Speak to a CDL-Friendly Traffic Lawyer About a Ticket in Lamont, CA

When bus and truck drivers get misdemeanor tickets for speeding, such as those in CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22406.1, Speed Laws, 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit, no permit, overweight trucks, etc., they need legal counsel that understands CA traffic law and can apply it to protect the driving privileges of truck drivers. Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We focus on your legal health to ensure you can continue driving with less stress. When we take your traffic ticket case, you can rest assured you are the hands of knowledgeable CDL lawyers who regularly practice in Lamont Traffic Court. Although it’s a tough court, we have a reputation of success where other lawyers fold. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The truckinginfo.com article, Commentary: Reducing Driver Stress Can Pay Huge Dividends

The truckinginfo.com article, Why You Should Care About Driver Wellness