A study has confirmed what many in trucking already believed — that there's a direct connection between a truck driver's crash risk and body mass index (BMI).

Stephen Burks of the University of Minnesota-Morris, a former truck driver and behavioral economist, has been working with Schneider National for more than a decade to study truck driver health and safety.

According to an article by Science Now, it was two years ago that Burks and his team decided to study drivers' BMI numbers and see how that related to crash rates.

They asked 744 rookie drivers with Schneider National for their height and weight, and from that information calculated each driver's individual BMI. Those with a BMI higher than 25 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI greater than 30 are considered obese.

The study followed the drivers for two years.

During their first two years on the road, drivers with a BMI higher than 35 ("severely obese") were 43-55% more likely to crash than were drivers with a normal BMI, the team reports in the November issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.

Some ideas behind the increased risk may include sleep apnea, limited agility, or fatigue associated with obesity, according to the article.

Drivers who are overweight, but not severely, did not appear to be at a higher risk.

See the full article from Science Now at the following URL: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/10/big-truckers-run-bigger-risk.html