Overall diabetes rates for truck drivers run 50 percent higher than the national average therefore Health advocacy groups are working hard to raise awareness for truck drivers on how they can better manage diabetes since about 500 thousand truckers in the U.S. have diabetes.
Vice President of TrueLifeCare, a diabetes management company, Kay Pfeiffer, said that the most concerning aspect of the trucker-diabetes statistic is that only about 100 thousand of them regularly check their glucose levels.
“It’s a crash waiting to happen,” Pfeiffer said.
“There are a lot of drivers that should not be driving. They like to eat a lot of sugar; their hands and feet get numb. That’s very dangerous” she added.
According to health experts, truckers’ lifestyles put them at a much higher risk for Type II diabetes, (when the body produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively), since the job is a sedentary profession and drivers oftentimes eat fast food on the road.
Executive Director of the Arkansas and Oklahoma Chapters of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Malorie Marrs, said, “We tell folks, eat well, exercise, all those good things. If you get a 30-minute break, take a walk.”
Regarding this issue, the trucking industry has to have a safe balance between ensuring drivers with the condition are safe to drive and not discriminating against all drivers with diabetes.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA), said “We encourage drivers to make good individual decisions while on the road about diet and exercise. In addition, we encourage not just drivers, but everyone in the trucking industry to see their doctor regularly for screenings for diabetes and other illnesses.”