Channel 19

Todd Dills

Photo: Face of a longtime driver damaged by sunlight

| June 05, 2012

This photo, from the New England Journal of Medicine’s most recent issue, shows an unidentified 28-year highway veteran and the “photoaging” effect Northwest University’s Dr. Jennifer Gordon documented in a study of the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation in sunlight.

The effect, clinically known as “unilateral dermatoheliosis,” is not one that all drivers will experience. But for this driver it has resulted in pronounced thickening of the skin on the side of his face most exposed to the sun while driving, as you can see. It’s doubly interesting given the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recent clarification of the regulations on window tinting in commercial vehicles’ side-window glass, which I blogged about here.

The best protection against sunlight is shade, of course, but in its absence regular use of UVA- and UVA-blocking sunscreens and/or window films that reflect the UV spectrum can provide protection as well. FMCSA’s clarification noted that films that let through 70 percent of visible light (which doesn’t include UV radiation) are kosher for trucks’ side and rear glass.

  • Colleen Kelly Mellor

    Oh, for sure, Todd…”Trucker tan” is the term and it means just that–the kind of sun-baking only truckers get. One side of the body. Now, I just asked my long-haul trucker hubby the other day: “Does the sun filter through those windows–as you drive?” He said, “Absolutely. All day you’re exposed.” He does show the results of 30 years on the road but fortunately not as bad as this poor guy. Wow! Tried to warn my lady trucker friends, but can’t find WIT on Facebook (hope that changes.) In meantime, pls. visit us at whcih is soon to release book 1 in the series meant for the little truckers 4-8, letting them know what Mom and Dad do for a living.


    On Facebook, you can find WIT under “Women In Trucking Association, Inc.” – or you can contact Ellen Voie, the founder.

    The potential damage from the sun is why I always wear sunscreen – even my makeup has sunscreen in it, so my face is doubly protected. The sun is one of the biggest agents of the skin….protecting my face is a no brainer! :) strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.