Truck Drivers’ Use of the Internet: A Mobile Health Lifeline

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Abstract

Because of their social isolation, irregular and unpredictable schedules, limited access to health care, and long periods of travel, long-haul truckers may benefit from the use of mobile health applications on Internet-capable devices. The purpose of this study was to determine Internet access and usage among a sample of long-haul truck drivers. In this cross-sectional study, truck drivers completed a pencil and paper survey with questions on demographics, work and health histories, and Internet access and usage for both personal and job reasons. A total of 106 truck drivers were recruited from trucking industry trade shows, by word of mouth, and directly from trucking companies. Overall, the truck drivers’ use of the Internet was limited. Their usage for personal and job-related reasons differed. Social connectivity and access to health and wellness information were important during personal usage time. Job-related Internet use was highly practical, and applied to seeking information for directions and maps, fuel stops and pricing, and communicating with employers or transmitting documents. Age and experience were associated with Internet use. Younger, less-experienced drivers used the Internet more than older, experienced drivers. Targeted mobile health messaging may be a useful tool to inform truck drivers of health conditions and plans, and may provide links to primary care providers needing to monitor or notify drivers of diagnostic results or treatment plans.

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