george wilson in driver seat
George Wilson enjoyed his truck driving job but had to quit as his health deteriorated. This picture is from 2014, “somewhere in Texas.”
Courtesy of George Wilson
  • Trucking isn’t just dangerous because you’re out on the open road, controlling an 80,000-pound vehicle.
  • It’s also hazardous because of long-term health effects that arise from sitting all day and poor food options at trucking stops.
  • While trucking is being championed as a well-paid job that doesn’t require a college degree, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said truck drivers face “a constellation of chronic disease risk factors.”

George Wilson misses his eight-foot-by-eight-foot home.

It had two beds, two dogs, and a little kitchen. Without a stove, he cooked hot dogs for himself and his wife in the microwave. His German Shepard Goldy, named after the Star Wars character, liked to lie on the ground.

Wilson was a long-haul truck driver for ten years and, like most truckers, he lived where he worked — in this case, in the cabin of a 50-foot truck.

But he had to leave the industry in 2016. He went from weighing less than 300 pounds to nearly 470 pounds over the course of his driving career and developed diabetes and serious breathing problems.

“It’s just not healthy whatsoever, the truck driver lifestyle,” Wilson told Business Insider.

Truck driving and other driving jobs have the seventh-highest work injury fatality rate in the country. In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, 660 large truck occupants died in crashes involving a large truck.

But when it comes to what’s really discouraging drivers from staying in the industry, University of Pennsylvania professor Steve Viscelli, who studies labor markets and automation, pointed to the health risks involving a sedentary lifestyle and poor food availability.