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I’m sure everyone has read an article about the health of truck drivers if you search the Net or read any transportation newspapers or magazines, and here’s just one more, with a twist.

Drivers are already required to carry physical evidence, from a doctor, of their medical qualifications and will need to continue to do so through January 30, 2014. Beginning January 30, 2012 however, under a new federal requirement, drivers will need to submit their medical approval forms to state licensing offices, so the information can be entered into a database that maintains such records as invalid licenses and driving violations.

This is a simple adjustment for drivers to make, but states who fail to meet this Proof-of-Health rule, risk losing transportation funds in a big way. The first offense will cost the state 5% of their funding. A second year of noncompliance will cost them 10%. This has the American Trucking Association worried that many states will not be able to meet this obligation.

The purpose of this new regulation is to make sure our drivers out there on the road are safe. Truckers are more at risk than the average American for a number of health problems. As we all know, longs hours of sitting can lead to obesity, which is the most commonly occurring and preventable cause of disease. Obesity contributes to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. One in four drivers has sleep apnea, which can leave one feeling groggy and exhausted because they do not get that restorative deep sleep that we all need. Half of them smoke; they eat a lot fast food, and don’t exercise.

With the state, your doctor, your wife or husband, and you telling yourself it’s time to get healthy, maybe it is time.