Anthropometric study of U.S. truck drivers : methods, summary statistics, and multivariate accommodation models
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Anthropometric study of U.S. truck drivers : methods, summary statistics, and multivariate accommodation models

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  • English

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    • Journal Article:
      DHHS publication ; no. (NIOSH)
    • Description:
      Truck driving is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that, in 2009, truck drivers experienced 16.8% (303 out of 1,795) of all transportation-related fatalities [BLS, 2009a] and 2.0% of the nonfatal injuries requiring days away from work, even though they only made up 1.0% of the U.S. workforce [BLS, 2009b]. Truck drivers spend long hours behind the wheel, working an average of 41.5 hours per week [BLS, 2009c]. Therefore, a well-designed truck cab can make a significant difference in the working conditions for a truck driver. Truck cab design impacts not only comfort, but also the safety of truck drivers and other road users. If the design of the truck cab is poorly fitted to the size and dimensions of the driver, the road may be less visible, controls may be more difficult to reach, and seat belts may be less comfortable and less likely to be used-all of which may increase the risk of injury to the driver and other road users. U.S. manufacturers have long recognized that improving the ergonomic design of truck cabs relies, to a large extent, on the availability of accurate and up-to-date anthropometric data on the nation�s medium- and heavy-truck-driving population. Unfortunately, the U.S. has not collected truck driver anthropometric data for almost three decades. In the 1980s, the Society of Automotive Engineers, at the urging of the domestic truck industry, sponsored an anthropometric study of truck drivers [Sanders, 1983; Shaw and Sanders, 1985] in an effort to create a database that could be used for the design of trucks. While these data were an important advancement at the time, their usefulness has always been limited due to relatively small sample sizes and questions about the representativeness of the sample. These problems have become exacerbated by changes in the demographics of the American truck drivers in the last 25-30 years. In 1983, the combined category of truck drivers (heavy and light) and driver-sales workers consisted of 11.7% African American, 5.6% Hispanic, and 3.5% females [BLS, 1983]. In 2009, the driver-sales workers and truck drivers category consisted of 13.4% African American, 18.7% Hispanic, and 5.2% females [BLS, 2009d]. This new demographic reality necessitated an updating of the anthropometric data used for the design of truck cabs because anthropometric data are related to various demographic characteristics [Bradtmiller et al., 1985; Gordon et al., 1986; ISO, 2006]. In addition to the demographic changes, there may be important secular changes in the body weight and girth of today�s truck driver population compared to the truck driver population of 30 years ago. Today�s truck drivers are on average heavier and differently shaped perhaps as part of the obesity epidemic that has hit the U.S. population in recent decades. The sedentary lifestyle of this profession, compounded by poor diet and nutrition, could contribute significantly to the increase in the weight and girth of the current driving population [Sieber et al., 2014; Korelitz et al., 1993]. Based on these considerations, NIOSH decided to conduct the first-ever federal anthropometric study of U.S. truck drivers. Data collection took place between 2009 and 2010. The goal of the study was to create a practical and up-to-date anthropometric database of U.S. medium-duty and heavy-duty truck drivers, which could be relied upon by truck manufacturers for designing new truck cabs and by professional organizations for updating industry standards for cab workspace environments. Anthrotech, an Ohio-based anthropometry consulting firm, was contracted by NIOSH to conduct data collection for this project. While NIOSH funded the bulk of the study, the partners in the trucking industry also provided financial support to increase the study sample size. This objective was achieved through SAE International, which obtained and packaged financial contributions from a number of firms in the trucking industry, making it possible to add hundreds of additional truck drivers to the database. The final sample is composed of 1,950 male and female truck drivers in a range of ages and racial/ethnic backgrounds, measured in widely dispersed sites around the nation.

      NIOSHTIC No 20046108

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