Argentina Ushers in the “Safety Truck”

Technology that we didn’t have even a couple of years ago suddenly seems impossible to live without. Case in point is the back-up cameras in most newer model trucks and SUVs.

In Argentina, where the highway infrastructure includes a lot of two lane highways, almost one person each hour is killed, most from trying to pass trucks and other vehicles where visibility is not good.

Samsung, realizing that there was a simple solution to the problem started rolling out the “Safety Truck”. What it does is to essentially put cameras on the front of the truck and project what it sees onto a large set of panels on the back of the truck so that the driver whose vision is blocked can actually see what is in front. A simple concept that could save thousands of lives.

Have a look at the YouTube video:

Safety-Truk


Truck Driving – One of the Deadliest Jobs

Trucks, we share the highways and roadways with them every day as we commute back and forth to work; we get aggravated at them when we’re stuck behind and can’t pass them; they’re indispensable in getting product, food, livestock and pretty much everything we need across the country. The men and women that drive them also have one of the deadliest jobs in America.

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Right now the death rate for truck drivers accounts for around 12% of all work related deaths in America.

The reasons why this job is so deadly are many and are not necessarily what you might think.

1. Long hours means that drivers are often sleep deprived. There are laws that say that truck drivers can only drive for 14 hours straight and must then take at least 10 hours off before they start driving again. There are also laws regulating how much they are allowed to work a week. Unfortunately in a job where the driver is paid by the load, not by the hour, these laws are more often than not circumvented and ignored. Additionally, truck drivers are finding it harder and harder to find safe and convenient places to pull over and sleep for the night.

2. Healthy eating and exercise is hard to come by on the road. Truck drivers sit almost all day and most often stop only to eat at truck stops and fast food restaurants simply because that’s what’s available along their routes. This means that among truck drivers 86% are classified as overweight or obese. Many truck drivers are forced to get other jobs when their diet and lack of exercise leads to becoming insulin dependent diabetics. Laws force insulin dependent diabetics to give up driving trucks.

3. Because they are on the road so much, truck drivers often do not take the time to get checkups and schedule doctor visits. Time off work is time they aren’t getting paid for and scheduling doctor visits often means turning down routes that they need in order to pay the bills. Truck drivers tend to “push through” and ignore health symptoms.

4. Isolation and lack of social interaction also leads to a higher than normal rate of depression among truck drivers. This, in turn, leads to additional health problems.

5. Stress of driving all day adds to the problem. Any truck driver will tell you that cars cutting in front of them without giving them enough space to stop is a continuous issue for them. The larger the truck, the more weight they are carrying, the longer it takes for them to stop. Traffic jams, road construction, detours and other roadway problem can often put truck drivers behind schedule adding to the stress of driving for so many hours.

Next time you’re tempted to get irritated because a semi in front of you isn’t accelerating fast enough or because you can’t get around it fast enough, stop and think about how hard it is to do what that truck driver has it. After all, as one truck driver put it “If you don’t like all these trucks on the road, stop buying stuff!”.


Quick Sleep Trips for Truck Drivers

NIOSH has put together a “Quick Tips for Truck Drivers” publication that is available for free on their website.

Knowing the rigors and the long hours that truck drivers have to put in, NIOSH put this publication together to help truck drivers understand when they are too sleepy to be driving as well as understanding the importance of sleep and the ramifications of driving without getting enough of it.

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Especially stressed in this pamphlet is a section that outlines how to get good sleep in order to be alert while driving.

You can download the publications on the CDC website here.


Long-Haul Truck Drivers Very High Risk

Truck on freeway

According to an article published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine this month long-haul truck drivers are twice the health risk as the rest of the population.

Because long-haul truck drivers typically smoke (69%), sit all day with no exercise and smoke (51%), presumably because they are bored, they end up having several of the high risk factors like hypertension, smoking, elevated cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity and less than 6 hours of sleep a night.

Although the online abstract didn’t mention it, I would assume that the obesity and high cholesterol has a lot to do with the bad eating habits and poor quality of the food available at the truck stops and fast food places that dot the highways these truckers rarely wander far from.

The article concludes that “targeted interventions and continued surveillance” is needed. Considering the fact that these drivers are hauling tons of materials at speeds upwards of 80 mph, I would agree. I, for one, don’t want to be in the way when one of them has a heart attack behind the wheel.

 


Logging Truck Gets Fried

The driver, in these photos, was trying to secure his load of timber. He swung the metal hook, attached to a chain, over the load and accidentally caught a power line. At 7.2 Kv this is the results.

The driver was fortunate. He should have been fried along with his truck.

This is a good reminder to pay attention and to anticipate any potential accidents.