Channel 19

Todd Dills

Heads-up: NY Times on truckers’ health

| November 22, 2011

The U.S. newspaper of record, the New York Times, devoted significant ink to many truck drivers’ moves toward improving their health in their Monday edition. The primary feature, by Abby Ellin and well-illustrated with pictures of many of the drivers she talked to, charts a rise in concern among industry associations, trucking companies, truck stops (a TA fitness room is pictured here) and others for the industry’s drivers — all well and good (and true, for that matter), but to my reading the primary feature downplays the fact that in the lead of the growing driver health awareness in the industry have been, well, drivers themselves.

The industry concern over driver health has long been brewing, with Trucker News‘ “Fit for the Road” program ongoing since 2007 and now comprising a permanent special section of the magazine and website. Along the way, I’ve made note time and again on the blog here of the core of health advocates among the owner-operators running the roads today, from the Trucking Solutions Group owner-operators to Siphiwe Baleka and his swimming and triathlon competition and fitness program and owner-operator Scott Grenerth (pictured) and his avid biking.

In my mind, the growing concern from industry groups and trucking companies is less a cause than more a consequence growing out of individual drivers’ successful efforts. You have proved a robust approach to health and fitness could be a real part of an on-highway career, and from that proof the rest of it all — from Con-way Truckload’s health blog and other initiatives by carriers and truck stops mentioned in the NYT piece — grows naturally.

At the same time, the New York Times did supplement its primary coverage with a quite nice series of five audio interviews with drivers making a difference in their own lives, with great pictures of the haulers likewise available. Check it out via this link.

And: I’ll be making my twice-weekly 3-to-4-mile run around my East Nashville neighborhood today after the day’s work is done. Here’s hoping you make time for your routine. Be well.

Tip of the hat to Marc Mayfield for his early heads-up to me on the NYT features.