What Does Your Weight Have To Do With Driving?

One more donut is ok. I can't even count the number of times I've told myself that, I mean let's be honest, a few extra pounds never hurt anyone. But recent legislation from the U.S. Department of Transportation could impact your driving and everyday life, and it is entirely based on your weight.

Researchers, healthcare providers and other organizations lobbied hard to establish the effects that weight can have on truck drivers and their ability to stay safe on the roads. We're not talking about the ability to restrain occupants or any other physical safety needs; we're talk about your quality of sleep. Over the past few years a subcommittee has evaluated and researched the effects that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can have on truck drivers and highway safety. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, "obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the flow of air pauses or decreases during breathing while you are asleep because the airway has become narrowed, blocked, or floppy." What does this mean? Lower quality of sleep, increased drowsiness and a harder time concentrating.

OSA has been discovered to be a common incidence among individuals with a body mass index (BMI) over 35. Due to long periods on the road, reduced access to healthy food and long days sitting with little to no exercise, higher weight is not all that uncommon among truck drivers. Supporters of this new legislation argued that higher weight means a higher chance of OSA, and higher risk when on the road. As a result, the U.S. DOT now requires the screening and treatment of drivers at risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

While it often seems the only fans of additional regulations (specifically those targeting one demographic) are the lawmakers creating them, we'll be curious to see the effects this new requirement on the transportation industry. Perhaps this should be a requirement for all those who drive?

This entry was posted on July 23rd, 2012 by jhubbard and is filed under Recent News & Updates.