Occasionally, medical emergencies while driving cause traffic accidents. While these events may initially look like negligence, real life medical emergencies may actually be to blame. When it comes to commercial truck operators, long-haul drivers in particular, surprising evidence linking obesity to their job may increase the likelihood of a medical emergency occurring while in gear.
According to a study reported by the CDC, long-haul truck drivers are twice as likely to suffer from obesity and chronic disease as men in any other occupation. These men are also more likely to smoke and have a poor diet. Since there has been a historic link between obesity, smoking and heart attacks, it would stand to reason that long-haul truck drivers are at a higher risk of suffering major medical events while behind the wheel than other drivers.
While medical emergencies on the road are usually not considered negligence, long-haul truck drivers who allow themselves to continue driving after developing a chronic medical condition may be found negligent for not minimizing the risk imposed on other drivers. This could be the case for long-haul truck drivers that continue to operate a semi-truck without taking prescribed medication to treat chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or heart conditions. In the event these unmanaged medical conditions cause a heart attack, vertigo or unconsciousness, it could be seen as negligence.
Passenger vehicles driving alongside commercial semi-trucks should not have to worry about whether or not the operator has an unmanaged chronic medical condition. As with any act of driver negligence, failing to take professional medical advice or sufficiently manage chronic medical conditions could place others on the road in danger. Individuals that have suffered a loss due to the negligence of a commercial truck driver may benefit from speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney.