June 12, 2021

HGV drivers more exposed to risk factors for their health

Overweight and smoking: truck drivers traveling in France are more exposed to risk factors for their health, with potentially dangerous consequences on the road, than the rest of the population, reveals a scientific study funded and published on Wednesday, June 2 by the Vinci Autoroutes foundation.

If they say they are rather satisfied with their professional life, believing that their job gives them a feeling of freedom and appreciating the independent nature of their work, this study shows that 24% of the 515 drivers of 18 different nationalities – including 55% of French – respondents are obese (against 16% among French men), 38% consume tobacco daily (against 28%) and less than a third (29%) say they practice a sport.

So many risk factors for their health “Because of their working conditions” (sedentary lifestyle, diet, working hours), note Loïc Josseran, professor of public health, at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Raymond-Poincaré de Garches hospital (AP-HP), and researcher Patricia Delhomme , Research Director at the Laboratory of Applied Psychology and Ergonomics at Gustave-Eiffel University, who piloted this study conducted in March and April 2018 on four motorway rest areas.

First study in France

According to them, it is the first to focus on the behavior and health of truck drivers circulating in France. “Subsequently, several international studies have also shown that CPL [conducteurs de poids lourd] present a higher prevalence of cardiovascular pathologies, diabetes, lung cancer, or obesity directly linked to their lifestyle and working conditions ”, they add.

The consequences in terms of accidentology can be real. “Smoking and obesity do not mix well with sleep, and [favorisent] in particular sleep apnea, which causes a drop in attention during the day ”, emphasizes Professor Loïc Josseran to Agence France-Presse. “When you are overweight or obese, you are less alert, you move less quickly, so you lack the ability to react if the situation requires it. [au volant] », he adds.

Used to driving for a long time and “To routine tasks”, according to Patricia Delhomme, the drivers questioned are 40% to have come close to the accident the past year. But the percentage “Is a neighbor with regard to motorists, who travel less kilometers”, specifies the researcher, who had previously conducted a similar study with them. The aim of this study is, according to Professor Josseran, to “Take measures in terms of prevention” for these “Invisible, without whom the economy would not last three weeks; we realized this even more with the health crisis ”.

Thus, to improve the driver’s hygiene, put in place in the service areas “An environment conducive to physical activity, if only walking”, to propose “Catering other than vacuum sandwiches” or even increase the number of secure areas. Indeed, “A large majority of the drivers questioned wish to be able to sleep and really rest without having to keep an eye open to monitor their goods or their fuel”, explains Patricia Delhomme.

The World with AFP