Trucks are the backbone of transporting commodities across the nations of the world. In some parts of the country, trains do the heavy lifting while trucks do the local and short-haul deliveries. But whether long distance or local, trucks move the goods and until the autonomous truck becomes the mainstay of the fleet, drivers are the critical element of trucking.
With this in mind, professional truckers are coming under the microscopes of researchers in the U.S. and Canada. In fact, drivers have been the target of research in illnesses in both countries. Professional truck drivers are essential workers in the economy and research has found they face significantly higher risk of diabetes and related health conditions due to the nature of their profession.
In view of their normal professional activity, road transport drivers are at a higher risk of obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia, and carbohydrate metabolism disorders such as diabetes mellitus, according to a 2013 report with data derived from medical examinations of 1903 drivers applying for driving license.
Excessive body weight was recorded in 65.6% of the study population, 44.8% were diagnosed as overweight and 20.8% at the level of obesity while high blood pressure was recorded in 16.4% of drivers. High prevalence of excessive body weight, high blood pressure, and hyperlipidemia are risk factors for diabetes mellitus in professional drivers that indicates a need to undertake multidimensional actions target on this profession and involving various health care sectors.
Prophylactic and detailed pre-placement examinations should be considered, depending on the rate and the intensity of disorders. These should be coupled with an introduction of primary and secondary prophylactic activities and monitoring of relevant treatment.
Tracking the Truckers
Drivers are among those professionals whose job and health status greatly influences the public safety. Both complications of diabetes and medications’ side effects can affect driving skills. Diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy are two common complications, which can cause muscle weakness or even amputation. Moreover, treatment of diabetes can result in hypoglycemia, which in turn may lead to increased reaction time, imbalance, and even loss of consciousness, leading to in an increased risk for road accidents. Moreover, such problems can influence a driver’s performance, and cause absenteeism, thereby posing great financial burden to society.
There are professional organizations and programs to address this danger. For example, the Canadian T.H.A.T. (Truckers’ Health Adaptive Technology) project is a study of participants’ glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, stress, sleep, and physical activity. Data will be remotely monitored and collected daily and, combined with waist circumference, body weight, and height will form dynamic individual biophysical and behavioral profiles, that will be used to engage drivers with realtime, targeted personalized behavioral interventions and digital virtual care supports from a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers.
Dexcom G6 rtCGM (realtime continuous glucose monitoring) systems will be used to monitor daily glucose, combined with a professional drivers’ version of Routinify’s WellAssist continuous wellness and health monitoring platform to guide drivers’ daily activities and coaching. Dexcom, as a digital heath technology partner, will support improving health and safety outcomes of professional truck drivers with the introduction of realtime, data-guided virtual care and coaching.
Tracking their Trucks
While the drivers are the focus for research on illnesses related to their work, the fleets of trucks themselves are the subject of both monitoring and research. According to a new report from the IoT (Internet of Things) market research firm Berg Insight, the number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in North America was 13.7 million in Q4-2021. Growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.7%, this number is expected to reach 26 million by 2026.
In Latin America, the number of active fleet-management systems is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6% from 4.7 million in Q4-2021 to reach 8.5 million in 2026. There are now more than 30 players with installed bases of at least 100,000 active fleet-management units in the Americas. At the end of 2021, the top-30 vendors together had 13 million vehicles under management in the region and the top 10 alone represented 50% of the total installed base in the Americas.
Geotab and Verizon Connect are the leading fleet-telematics providers in the Americas. Geotab has well more than 2 million active fleet-management subscribers in the region. The remaining top players are Trimble and Solera Fleet Solutions, both active in the industry for decades, relative newcomer Samsara, Motive (formerly KeepTruckin), and Zonar Systems.
The leading tire manufacturers Michelin and Bridgestone, as well as Continental have all established strong positions in the fleet management space through acquisitions such as Zonar Systems (Continental). Tire manufacturers have found the fleet management market highly complementary to their core business.
Recent years have seen many expand their product and service offerings in the fleet telematics market and manufacturers such as Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, and Continental all have various initiatives related to fleet telematics, ranging from offering telematics-integrated tire pressure monitoring systems all the way up to acquisitions in the billion-dollar range.
Based on M&A (merger and acquisition) activity and high-pace organic growth, Berg Insight anticipates a future scenario where the global fleet management market is dominated by a handful of providers with installed bases measured in the millions. The milestone of one million connected units has already been surpassed by more than 10 solution providers. Four of the vendors have reached two million units and two players have even surpassed three million units.
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