The trucking industry is losing many professional truck drivers to the health problems that arise from a sedentary lifestyle. That’s why the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is partnering with Rolling Strong to offer a new driver wellness program that will launch in January 2016.
TCA Wellness, powered by Rolling Strong, will provide every participant with access to thousands of health-check stations across the country, annual bio-screenings, and a driver-centric smartphone app with practical, tested-in-the-field guidance about nutrition and exercise on the road. They will also receive unlimited phone support from TCA-approved, CDL health-coaches who are specifically trained to work within the difficult limits that professional drivers experience every day.
“The studies are alarming … drivers are gaining weight, not exercising much, and developing serious problems like sleep apnea and diabetes,” said Keith Tuttle, TCA’s chairman. “This, in turn, undermines their ability to work, meaning less money to provide for their families. From the trucking industry’s standpoint, it means fewer drivers and more recruitment costs. We see Rolling Strong as an innovative solution; their approach not only boosts driver health and fosters driver-retention, but also delivers an unprecedented return on investment for users.”
The new wellness partnership will provide trucking companies with the means to establish a customized, in-house wellness program that exactly matches their needs and perfectly fits their available budget. The baseline program, as outlined above, will cost TCA members less than two dollars per driver, per month. Non-TCA-members and state associations are also welcome to participate, at a slightly higher cost.
Part of the new wellness partnership is “Rebuilt,” a program designed by Rolling Strong that is tailored to drivers who fail their CDL physical or receive a short-term DOT certification card. Rebuilt has an 85% success rate for getting medically disqualified drivers back on the road within 30 days, according to the organization. Rebuilt is home-based and can commence on the very day following a medical examiner’s decision to take a driver off the road. It includes daily coaching, in-home exercise equipment, a special 28-day food supply, and, when necessary, medical referrals. In addition, the required re-testing is a covered expense.
Covenant Transport, a long-time TCA member based in Chattanooga, TN, has been working with Rolling Strong for some time and stated that it is very pleased with the results of the Rebuilt program.
According to Joey Hogan, company president, “It is no exaggeration to say that Rolling Strong has added thousands of dollars to our bottom line over the last few years. In the present trucking economy, it can cost $8,000 to put a new driver behind the wheel, and many of us are turning away business and parking tractors because we just don’t have the drivers. The team at Rolling Strong has kept an impressive number of drivers on the road who would otherwise have been lost to us.”
Debbie Sparks, TCA’s vice president of development, agrees.
“The truck driver shortage only gets worse when we lose experienced people because of health problems — especially when certain medical conditions can potentially be avoided with the proper intervention. TCA is really looking forward to helping our members save valuable professional truck drivers via the Rebuilt initiative,” she said.
For carriers experiencing high turnover, an effective tool can be intervention during orientation, with a health-syllabus specifically designed for new drivers, according to TCA.
“Our driver wellness tools make a real difference,” said Bob Perry, founder of Rolling Strong, and executive director of TCA Wellness, powered by Rolling Strong. “We have developed a comprehensive solution that makes a trained CDL wellness coach available at major terminals for three or four hours per week. This face-to-face interaction can greatly enhance driver health and support driver compliancy. I’m pleased that driver health is being recognized by a well-respected transportation organization such as the TCA. This partnership allows us to stay true to our core mission: to provide professional drivers with simple lifestyle changes to maintain their livelihood and get home safe to see their families!”