International Yoga Day

Driving a big rig is not a small responsibility.  In fact, it can be very grueling and demanding.  Drivers face many stressful challenges that go along with the profession such as heavy traffic, extreme weather events, heavy lifting during loading and unloading, as well as the stress of time-sensitive deliveries.  Recently drivers also face the stress of complying with new regulations such as ELD and HOS regulations.  In addition, as trucking is by nature a sedentary job, many truckers suffer from musculoskeletal pain, especially back pain due to spending long stretches of time on the road.  Keeping a healthy diet on the road is not easy either since most options available to truckers are fast food and junk food items.

With all the challenges truckers face, they often struggle to stay in shape and find ways to decompress and stay relaxed while working in such a tiring and stressful job.  Recently some truckers are turning to hatha yoga help stay fit and healthy.  According to Truckdrivingjobs.com, “More and more truckers have turned to yoga as a means of staying healthy and limber on the road, as more companies place an emphasis on the physical well-being of truckers in recent times.  In addition to stretching, the yogic principle of deep breathing can help drivers stave off hypertension and help to prevent hyperventilation which may lead to more serious health concerns.”

You may be wondering what exactly is yoga?  To put it in its simplest form, yoga is doing certain stretching exercises to build flexibility and relax the body.  These exercises can also be coordinated with the breath to increase health benefits. Yoga postures can also build strength, coordination, balance, and stamina.  Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. It became popular in the West in the 20th century. The word, yoga, comes from the Sanskrit yuj, which means “to yoke” and “samadhi” or “concentration.” Thus, yoga is the practice that aims to join the mind, body, and spirit.

According to Healthline.com, a site for health and wellness information, “Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga.  Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.”  The website lists the following evidence-based benefits of practicing yoga,

  1. Decreases Stress
  2. Relieves Anxiety
  3.  May Reduce Inflammation
  4. Could Improve Hearth Health
  5. Improve Quality of Life
  6. Helps Fight Depression
  7. May Reduce Chronic Pain
  8. Help Promote Sleep Quality
  9. Improves Flexibility and Balance
  10. Help Improve Breathing
  11. May Help Relieve Migraines
  12. Helps Promote Healthy Eating Habits
  13. Can Increase Strength

Truckers may feel pressed for time in their busy schedules and decide that exercise such as jogging, biking, etc. are out of the question.  Yoga however, can be done anywhere, at any time of day; except for after meals. (Ideally one should wait for one to two hours after eating a meal before practicing yoga).  Drivers can even do yoga inside their cabs if the weather outside is not conducive. 

In honor of International Day of Yoga, Harvard Medical School put out an article with a simple 15-minute yoga routine.  Click here to view the simple yoga stretches and get started with a routine.  Once you start your yoga routine and enjoy the health and relaxation benefits from it, you will be inspired to continue and expand your yoga practices.

Matrackinc is happy to celebrate International Day of Yoga with you and wishing you health and happiness in your trucking career!

Sleep Apnea And Truck Driving

Sleep Apnea and Motor Vehicle Accidents Statistics

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea.  The American Sleep Association reports that “Among the estimated 1.7 to 3.9 million active U.S. commercial drivers, 17% to 28% or 0.29–1.1 million are expected to have OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) based on prevalence studies conducted within the trucking industry. It is estimated that sleep apnea increases the incidence of motor vehicle accidents in noncommercial drivers 1.5 to 4.9 fold.”  According to a study done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA,) “The total economic impact of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States where undiagnosed OSA was a contributing factor was estimated at $26.2 billion in 2015.

FMCSA Proposed OSA Regulations

In March 2016, the FMCSA and FRA published their proposed rule for sleep apnea related to the trucking industry as well as other transportation workers.  The National Transportation Safety Board recommended a higher degree of sleep apnea testing.  However, there was a large opposition from the industry.  Finally, in August 2017 the FMCSA and the Federal Railroad Administration decided against moving forward with a possible regulation that would mandate the testing and treatment of sleep apnea for truck drivers as well as other transportation workers.

Current Status of FMCSA  OSA Regulation Proposals

Currently, there is no national ruling that safety regulations should require comprehensive OSA screening and diagnosis of commercial drivers.  However professional carriers still remain with the right to require sleep apnea screening for their drivers if they choose to do so.

OSA Medications and Driving

Provigil (Modafinil) is a medication used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by certain sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea. Provigil has many potential side effects and has many interactions with both common prescription and over the counter medications.  It should be noted that according to the FMSCA website, “Provigil may affect concentration or may hide signs that an individual is tired. It is recommended that until an individual knows how Provigil affects him/her, they may not drive, use machinery or do any activity that requires mental alertness.”

Benefits of Using a CPAP Machine

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is the most popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It uses air pressure generated by a machine, delivered through a tube into a mask that fits over the nose or mouth.  The American Sleep Association has done a study to find the correlation between those using CPAP machines and motor accident rates.  It was found that “Drivers non-adherent with CPAP had a crash rate for preventable DOT-reportable crashes of 0.070/100,000 miles or nearly five-fold more. On the other hand, drivers adherent with CPAP were no more likely to be involved in preventable accidents than controls who did not have sleep apnea.”  This study shows the importance of using a CPAP machine for truck drivers that have sleep apnea as it can greatly reduce the chance of accidents.

Comprehensive list of Ways to Manage Sleep Apnea

  • Avoid alcohol, muscle relaxants, and other depressants
  • Quit smoking
  • Periodic movement or mild exercise
  • Sleep with your upper body elevated
  • Sleep on your side, rather than your back
  • Sufficient sleep time to feel adequately rested
  • Special mouthpiece from a dentist to open your upper airway during sleep
  • If the sleep apnea is more severe, in most cases your doctor will recommend a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which assists with inhaling.
  • In more severe cases, a BiPAP machine may be needed, which assists with inhaling and exhaling.
  • Another option is a surgical procedure to remove tissue and widen the airway.

Trailer And Construction Equipment Theft; Statistics and Prevention

Auto, trailer, and construction equipment theft is a growing problem all over the world; and the United States is no exception.  In fact, one motor vehicle theft (including automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles) was reported every 40.9 seconds in the United States in 2017.  About $6 billion total was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2017. 

According to the study done by BSI & TT, The Club Cargo Theft Report of 2018 finds that the United States has the second highest theft rate in Northern America(which includes the following countries; Canada, United States, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and other Central American countries).  It also finds that 82% of these thefts are from trucks, as opposed to cargo stored at a facility, or being transported by rail, sea, van, etc.  The study also reveals that 66% of thefts occur while the cargo is in transit as opposed to occurring in parking lots, warehouses, gas stations, etc. 

The report concludes that the use of GPS tracking devices in the vehicle/trailer, as well as the use of covert GPS tracking devices within the cargo, are important protocols which should be followed to help prevent theft. 

Farm and construction equipment theft in the United States also continues to be a serious problem.  In 2016 a detailed Equipment Theft Report was done in a joint alliance between the National Equipment Register (NER) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

The research revealed that annual estimates of the cost of equipment theft vary from about $300 million to $1 billion, with most estimates in the range of $400 million.  It’s estimated that about $300 million was lost due to equipment theft in 2016 alone.   

The top ten states for equipment theft in 2016 were:

  1. Texas with 2,375 theft
  2. North Carolina with 796 thefts
  3. Florida with 763 thefts
  4. California with 694 thefts
  5. Georgia with 577 thefts
  6. South Carolina with 512 thefts
  7. Tennessee with 449 thefts
  8. Oklahoma with 445 thefts
  9. Arkansas with 362 thefts
  10. Alabama with 338 theft

It’s important to note that the top 5 states account for 45% of all thefts in the United States.  Also, the top 10 states account for 63% of all thefts in the country.  In addition, only 21% of the stolen equipment was ever recovered in 2016.  The study also revealed that due to the lack of surveillance of equipment, thieves feel more confident when committing crimes.  In addition, thieves feel safe to even sell the stolen equipment in such nearby places as neighboring counties or states.

Solution:

While auto, tractor, trailer, farm and construction equipment theft proves to be a consistent problem in the U.S., there is a solution.  The use of gps for construction equipment both in vehicles and on cargo and equipment is essential and helps save dollars, time, and energy otherwise spent trying to recover stolen property.  Not only can GPS tracking devices help you identify and locate stolen property, but they can also help prevent theft in the first place.This can prove to be a big plus in construction fleet management.Know where exactly your trailer is, secure your trailer and cargo and protect your trailer from theft and unauthorized use with trailer GPS tracking devices from Matrackinc.com