Watch Now

Amid driver health crisis, Rolling Strong gamifies wellness

Professional truck drivers have a job that is unique in its particular combination of health risks: driving is sedentary, stressful, and physically dangerous, all at the same time. No other occupation has to deal with all three of those conditions. These overlapping risk factors lead to poor health outcomes for truck drivers, who have a 20% greater risk for hypertension than the general population, experience obesity and diabetes at twice the rate of the general population, and who smoke at twice the rate of the general population. On the job injuries for truck drivers are triple the rate of the national workforce as a whole. 

Luckily, the most common health problems that drivers face are highly treatable. “We just have to give drivers the respect they deserve and the information that empowers them to be able to make better, healthier decisions,” said Sean Mohr, co-founder and VP of Rolling Strong, a driver wellness company whose app is growing its user base exponentially. Rolling Strong began in 2010 and was acquired by Velociti, an enterprise technology company, in 2017.

“Back in the day when we were trying to get driver health to be an industry priority, no one was thinking about them. They were kind of like the last cog in the wheel. But these are highly trained, knowledgeable people, who do a hard job,” continued Mohr. “The trucking industry has spent billions of dollars on data, but zero on keeping people on the road [from a wellness standpoint]. So we’ve developed the first app of its kind that actually takes the driver’s age and health statistics and tells him on a daily basis what he needs to do to pass his next DOT health exam.”

“We designed a daily stretching and flexibility routine to go along with your daily inspection,” added Mohr. “You can open your chest cavity, take care of your sciatic nerve while you’re checking your brakes.”

Rolling Strong has partnered with tens of thousands of travel centers and gyms around the country to better advise its users. When a driver walks into a truck stop, the Rolling Strong app can tell him what to order off the restaurant’s menu based on his health needs. He doesn’t have to do it, of course, but making healthy choices earns him points, which can be redeemed for anything from gloves to hotel stays. And if the driver wants to eat junk food, the app can tell him what he needs to eat, or how many miles he should walk, to make up for it. Points can even be wagered against other drivers in health challenges.

“It’s all about the sticky factor,” said Mohr. “Once you get on the app, we want you to stay on it, and use it every day, like any other tool you have.” 

Mohr also spoke about how Rolling Strong is leveraging its data to give fleets insight into the overall health of their driver pools. “It’s not just an app, it’s a platform,” Mohr said. “It’s our technology, it’s not just a knock-off FitBit. It’s built primarily to collect data and use it. It’s a HIPAA compliant portal—driver info is anonymized and confidential—and it pulls data from 20,000 health check stations like Kroger, Publix, Walmart, as well as wearable devices, etc. They can see their individual data, but then we can give the fleet an aggregate report of the exact health of their fleet and where the problem spots are. We can narrow that down to blood pressure or obesity or whatever, and eventually we’re going to show the injury rate, lower back and rotator cuff, and start attacking the workers’ comp problem, too. And we can correlate that data with accident data—we want to be the first company to prove that a healthier driver is a safer driver.”

“Our fleets are making an average of 3-1 ROI for every dollar they put in,” Mohr concluded.

Stay up-to-date with the latest commentary and insights on FreightTech and the impact to the markets by subscribing.

John Paul Hampstead

John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.