If you earn a living behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, you are likely on the road a lot. Whether you're a college student, working part time to earn income for tuition payments or are the primary breadwinner for a family, it can be quite challenging to keep up with the duties that accompany your commercial driver's license and the other responsibilities and obligations in your life. Busy lives typically have negative consequences; where your CDL is concerned, your health may be at risk.
Commercial vehicle operators are prone to several types of adverse medical conditions. Physical health isn't the only issue at play here either; if you're trying to make up for lost time, spending long hours on the road and trying to juggle all other areas of your life as well, you may wind up making choices you wouldn't otherwise make while driving, which can lead to legal trouble that may be difficult to overcome.
Beware the downsides of commercial truck driving
Studies show that as a commercial vehicle operator, you are at risk for three major health issues. The following list provides information regarding those risks, as well as other potential problems you may face behind the wheel, and where to seek support if you need it:
- How's your heart? Surprisingly, current data suggests commercial vehicle drivers are at great risk for heart disease. Some say this may be due to the less-than-healthy diets many truck drivers consume. If you spend a lot of time eating fast food and not much time getting physical exercise, you may want to keep close watch on your cardiac health.
- Ill-health from lack of sleep: Although there are often regulations governing how many consecutive hours you can stay behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer without taking breaks to sleep, the fact remains that you and other commercial drivers may be sleep deprived at some point. Lack of appropriate hours of sleep can result in a whole host of adverse health problems.
- Mental health disorders: It can be tough to be away from friends and family when you're on the road, always sleeping in places other than home and spending copious amounts of time alone; this type of lifestyle can lead to depression and other mental disorders. If you believe you may be suffering from this type of ill-health, you may want to discuss the situation with your physician, a licensed counselor or other support network.
Unfortunately, since time almost always equals money to commercial drivers, lack of sleep and other issues often lead to situations where drivers swallow pills to stay awake or consume alcohol; not only can this type of behavior place your CDL at risk, you may wind up behind bars as well. You may have a perfectly valid reason for having prescription drugs in your possession or in your system. Either way, the court presumes your innocence unless prosecutors prove otherwise. Knowing where to turn for help is half the battle.
You can fight against charges that place your freedom and your operator's license at risk. Many Pennsylvania truck drivers have successfully overcome criminal charges by relying on aggressive representation in court.