Sitting for long shifts, weeks on the road during long hauls and an on-the-go diet are just a few reasons why truck drivers face a greater number of health risks compared to other professions. The impact of long-haul trucking not only can take a toll on drivers, it’s also shown to be a contributing factor in the decline of driver retention and onboarding. According to Direction Magazine, driver shortage topped the list of industry concerns in 2017, with the shortage reaching an estimated 174,000 drivers in less than 10 years if current trends continue.
Fortunately, driver wellness programs are on the rise. Similar to other employee wellness programs, these are designed to encourage and incentivize drivers to adopt healthier habits, which keeps them healthy and focused – while also improving their company’s bottom line.
Here are four benefits of having an effective driver wellness program:
Promote safer driving for everyone on the road
A healthy driver makes for a safe driver. According to the University of Utah School of Medicine, high blood pressure and fatigue are highly associated with an increased risk for truck crashes. Driver wellness programs have the potential to reduce these crash factors, which can also lower companies’ operating costs and liability exposure.
Reduce health care costs
Across the workforce, employee wellness programs save $3 for every dollar spent, according to Forbes. Specifically, wellness programs with a disease-management component generate about 87 percent of health care savings and 88 percent of long-haul truckers are determined to be at risk for a number of chronic diseases, according to Trucking Info.
Improve employee retention
Encouraging, educating and providing employees with resources to prevent obesity, high blood pressure and other health risks also lead to higher retention. Every two years, commercial drivers must pass a Department of Transportation physical before they can get recertified. Poor health conditions, like high blood pressure, could prevent a driver from returning to work. Additionally, demonstrating care for their well-being can go a long way in making them feel valued.
Attract top talent
Wellness programs and even simple perks like a gym membership have proven to attract talent, especially when it comes to millennials. According to SHRM, they are the most likely to want employers to offer resources and support their overall health and wellbeing. More companies are considering on-site health clinics, minimal insurance premiums and other wellness benefits to attract millennials entering the workforce.
Supporting the overall well-being of drivers is reason enough to invest in driver wellness programs, but there is the added benefit of helping lessen the impact of driver shortage. They can keep drivers healthier while also attracting younger talent – all of which helps companies in the long run.