This instructional package is designed to provide a broad understanding of wellness, health, and fitness topics for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, especially truck and bus drivers. The information presented here is specifically geared to provide instructor education on wellness, health, and fitness courses for audiences that may include commercial drivers, dispatchers, driver managers, safety managers, risk managers, corporate occupational health managers, human resources personnel, and other corporate representatives in surface transportation industries.

Course Objectives

The objectives of this manual are to enable instructors to help course attendees to:

  • Identify the major health and fitness risks to commercial vehicle drivers.
  • Discuss and examine the likely effects of these health risks on drivers’ lifestyle and their implications for truck and bus safety.
  • Explain wellness, health, and fitness-focused alternatives to the sedentary lifestyles associated with commercial driving.
  • Understand how to apply knowledge of wellness, health, and fitness principles to their own lives. Drivers should be able to establish a personal wellness and fitness program to make personal improvements in their own lifestyle and health.

This Instructors Manual for the Gettin’ in Gear Driver Wellness course includes materials and discussion aimed at these questions:

  • Why should we address or discuss Wellness, Health, and Fitness of Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers?
  • What are the most troubling threats and risks to drivers’ health and fitness?
  • Why is it important for drivers to take personal responsibility for their own health and wellness?
  • How do I appraise or examine my own wellness, health, and fitness status? And how do I identify health issues I really need to attend to, and for which I need to make lifestyle changes?
  • How can committing to the 4 Rs of the Gettin’ in Gear wellness program help me?
  • What personal health strategies should I carve out for myself to improve my own wellness, health and fitness?
  • What pointers and guidance can the program offer me that I can use? Or that my family can use?

The principal goal of the course is to bring about personal changes in commercial drivers’ health-related behaviors. This personalized driver wellness program is called the Gettin’ in Gear Driver Wellness, Health and Fitness Program. It is based around four health principles labeled as the four Rs of driver wellness:

 Refueling: learning better eating practices so bodies and minds perform at their best, providing extra energy and better alertness, especially while driving.

Rejuvenating: improving physical condition through regular exercise, maintaining physical rigor and movement activities to preserve health and to remain physically fit.

Relating: understanding the importance of, and how to enhance relationships with others, both personal and professional. Understanding, too, how those relationships impact personal stress levels, job performance, and health.

Relaxing: becoming calmer in a fast-paced world – both at home and at work – by learning to recognize, control and manage responses to the many stresses of life.

This Instructors Manual provides resources to assist instructors in developing presentations on driver wellness, health, and fitness.  It is intended to equip company instructors to offer their own classes to audiences of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, to the families of drivers, or even to other non-driver employees in the company.  The manual covers the most common health and wellness threats and risks to commercial drivers.  It provides truck or bus company instructors with commercial driver wellness information, and proactive approaches for achieving lifestyle changes that may improve and maintain health and fitness, and promote overall wellness.

Long-haul drivers spend long periods of time driving on the road – often over a period of years, even decades.  They tend to lead a predominantly sedentary (seated) lifestyle, and too many are complacent or inattentive to personal health and fitness issues.  This manual deals with issues of lifestyle health risks that can accompany commercial driving careers.  The course material provides many proactive, preventive tips on how to develop a positive healthy attitude, and how to establish and pursue a personal wellness plan based on the Gettin’ in Gear Driver Wellness Program.

A large portion of the content in this Instructors Manual was adapted from the Gettin’ in Gear Driver Wellness Program developed by Sue Roberts Health Concepts of Des Moines, Iowa, in collaboration with the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) of Alexandria, Virginia under a cooperative agreement sponsorship by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  These portions of the Gettin’ in Gear program are documented in the FMCSA report:

Design Development and Evaluation of Truck and Bus Driver Wellness Programs: Final Report, June 2000; prepared for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Office of Research and Technology, Washington, DC.

The research work and the report itself were conducted and prepared by Sue Roberts along with Jim York of NPTC’s Private Fleet Management Institute.

Further development of this Instructors Manual and other Gettin’ in Gear course materials was done by Gerald P. Krueger, Ph.D., of Krueger Ergonomics Consultants, through a contract with the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

This manual incorporates many principles from a variety of other health related programs, notably those Dr. Krueger encountered or participated in while he conducted occupational and preventive medicine research for 25 years as an active duty US Army officer.  The source references are listed as Instructor References at the back of this manual.

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of many contributors and reviewers in the development and completion of this project, including the helpful critique and suggestions of select members of the FMCSA who participated in    several reviews of material presentations.  Special thanks go to Rebecca M. Brewster, ATRI project manager, as she guided the work and did substantial editing of various drafts of the manual and slides.