Most of us think of allergies as nothing more than a slight bother. They mean sniffles, a red nose, swollen eyes, and maybe some sneezing. For truck drivers, however, allergies can pose a serious health risk in a number of ways:
1) Allergies distract a driver from the road. When drivers are sneezing or having a more serious allergic reaction, they are often unable to give full attention to the road. This, in turn, creates a risk of bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents, as drivers are unable to focus on the obstacles in front of them. A driver with allergies can mean that everyone sharing the road with that driver is at risk.
2) Allergy medication often induces drowsiness. Many over the counter medications designed to ease the symptoms of an allergy also produce feelings of drowsiness. Taking such medications can cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel or to become so drowsy that their driving is affected. It is important for truck drivers to check their medication carefully to ensure that it does not cause drowsiness.
3) Serious allergies can cause life-threatening reactions. In rare cases, allergies can cause a severe rash, racing heart beat, and trouble breathing. These serious allergies are life-threatening. If they occur to a truck driver on the road, they can cause the driver to lose consciousness and lose control of his or her vehicle. This can easily lead to accidents and collisions with other vehicles on the road.
By law, truck drivers are required to get physical examinations to ensure that they are fit to drive a truck safely. However, some drivers “doctor shop,” meaning that they visit different physicians in order to get a clean bill of health. Unfortunately, this can be a great danger on the road if serious conditions, or even relatively minor conditions such as allergies, are left undetected and untreated.
Some truck drivers are fearful about getting proper physical examinations because they worry that a diagnosis could harm their income or employment. However, even letting relatively minor conditions such as allergies go untreated and undiagnosed can increase the likelihood of pedestrian accidents, truck-car accidents, and other types of potentially fatal collisions.