Exploring Links Between Medical Conditions and Safety Performance in Tractor Trailer Drivers

Principal Investigator:

Stephen Burks, Associate Professor, Economics


Project Summary:

We are continuing to complete an initial phase, and then extend and expand an existing program of research (the "Truckers & Turnover Project"), with two incremental components. First component: we have completed initial work and are doing additional work on data already obtained from our primary study motor carrier with regard to its mandatory program to screen, diagnose, and treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). One paper on crash risk differences associated with the OSA program has been published. We are finalizing a paper providing an analysis of the savings in medical insurance claims costs associated with the program, and we are also analyzing associated differences in crash costs. Credible evidence of the medical cost and crash costs savings accruing to a firm employing an OSA program will make investment in such programs by individual motor carriers more likely even in the absence of regulations, and may help reduce opposition to new regulations requiring OSA screening (which led to a withdrawal of the preliminary rulemaking on this topic during the reporting period). The second component is the re-establishment of the legal and security conditions required to obtain new operational, human resource, and protected health data on drivers from the participating trucking firm. The initial goal is the acquisition of information from the firm's commercial driver's license (CDL) biennial medical examination records to enable a comparison with those already in hand. We also are re-establishing the ability to collect medical insurance claim information on the same drivers for future use.

Previous related projects:


Project Details:

  • Start date: 12/2014
  • Project Status: Active
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Trucking