Driver Lifestyles

What's New in Health and Trucking?

By Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted Feb 5th 2024 8:00AM

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are many health factors that truck drivers must be aware of, and warnings to adhere to, in order to maintain their livelihood on the road. Keeping an up-to-date Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, long-form and medical card, in their truck is the most commonly accepted way to ensure a driver is staying DOT compliant when it comes to their health. But what exactly does that mean to someone who might be a new addition to the ranks of over-the-road camaraderie?

DOT Physical Examination

A DOT physical exam is most often valid for up to two years, and exams must be conducted by a licensed medical examiner who is listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.

When applying for a driving position with a company, the driver must furnish a copy of their DOT physical to be considered for application approval. Although, some companies do employ their own licensed medical examiners and will administer a DOT physical examination when a driver agrees to on-site driver training.

Personal Health Issues to Consider

When a driver is preparing for their DOT physical, here are some health issues worth thinking about and taking into consideration. Due to a sedentary lifestyle, one that maintains more sitting still than a job in which one might be on their feet, trucking can increase the risk of the following health problems.

  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • High Cholesterol

Addressing these health concerns are worth having a discussion with a family doctor, prior to having a DOT physical exam. If the physician feels less than concerned regarding issues such as the ones listed above, then it’s a safe bet a driver will be able to pass their DOT physical.

Something New to Assist in Maintaining Good Health

Garmin (the company that makes those super-sweet GPS systems for your rig) recently developed and released a smartwatch aimed at making life easier and healthier for career truck drivers. The Instinct 2 – dēzl Edition smartwatch boasts that it was created for drivers who want to lead a healthier lifestyle while over-the-road.

Like a Garmin GPS, the new smartwatch comes loaded with all kinds of bells and whistles. It allows drivers to monitor their health around the clock by tracking heart rate, sleep, stress and more. It also includes exercise workouts specially tailored to fit a driver's daily routine.

The Instinct 2 – dēzl Edition also allows a driver to access member loyalty program information from select truck stops and travel plazas, and quickly pay on the go by using reward point balances, simply by looking at their wrist.

The smartwatch will monitor heart rate, hydration, and stress levels, as well as track daily caloric intake and steps taken throughout the day. For drivers who want to take control of their everyday health, and maintain their good standing with the doctors, a gizmo like this could prove life and job-saving.

Currently, the Instinct 2 – dēzl Edition retails for a cool $400. It may be more advantageous for drivers to consider putting their money elsewhere (like a doctor’s visit) first, before going straight to the fancy arm jewelry. But it is reassuring to know there are technological advances out there to help a trucker who is spending the better part of their work life sitting in a chair behind a wheel.