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Enterprise Fleet recap: How health and wellness can improve driver retention

Driver life expectancy is 16 years below average; 85% are overweight. How can employers help?

Dr. Mark Manera

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Enterprise Fleet Summit.

TOPIC: How health and wellness can improve driver retention.

DETAILS: Truck drivers face numerous obstacles to leading a healthy lifestyle, but these obstacles can be overcome. Fleets can use wellness plans to recruit and retain drivers as well as drive down insurance costs.

SPEAKERS: Dr. Mark Manera, founder and CEO of The Trucking Fitness Company (TFC), and FreightWaves’ Grace Sharkey.

BIO: As a physical therapist working with drivers, Manera saw firsthand what a lifetime of trucking can do to a person’s body. That experience inspired him to start TFC, with the mission to make trucking a healthier industry.


“When you look at the statistics, 85% of drivers are overweight, one in seven suffers from Type 2 diabetes and as a group, they’ve got a life expectancy 16 years lower than the overall population. From a fleet perspective, there’s a lot of risk in putting drivers behind the wheel with the current state of health they’re at. On top of that, there’s everything from workers’ comp claims to health insurance to just overall employee satisfaction. By helping your drivers exercise and eat healthy and live a healthier life, you’ve got all of these benefits that come from that.”

“I look at mental health and physical health as going hand in hand. If one falls off, most of the time, the other one is really close behind. [By promoting a healthier lifestyle] it will improve drivers’ relationship with their company — they’ll think: ‘Hey, my company’s thinking about me outside of where my next load is at.’ And it will also help the relationship with customers. Drivers will be happier and more energized and have a little bit more pep in their step.”

On constraints to better health: “From a driver’s perspective, there’s a time constraint. They’re constantly go, go, go. It’s really tough to disconnect and get to a gym, even if there’s truck parking. And from a food perspective, there are decreased healthy options out there on the road. There’s also a huge mindset problem. A lot of driver’s think: ‘I’m a truck driver and I can’t live a healthy life. I’m screwed because of my career. There’s no point in even trying because I’ve got the odds stacked against me.’ I look at that as a great opportunity for fleets and enterprises to say: ‘No, we’re going to help you fight back and give you the resources to say it’s possible and we’re going to encourage it and make it part of our culture.’”