How UV Radiation Affects Commercial or Owner Operator Truckers

As a commercial or owner operator truck driver you might think that your sun exposure is limited to the time spent outside your rig. However, most of your exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) light occurs while inside your truck. While it is true that the windshield blocks virtually all UV radiation, the same can’t be said about your side window.

There’s a reason why the skin on the left side of a lot of people’s faces tends to age faster than on their right side. It’s caused by UV radiation penetrating through the left side driver’s window when driving their cars. Because many adults drive their own cars, they spend a fair amount of time next to the front left side window.

While car drivers may average 150 to 200 miles per week, the commercial or owner operator truck driver can average more than ten times this amount. This means the left side of your face and especially your left arm when wearing short sleeves, are getting a far greater dosage of UV radiation.

The most damaging UV exposure occurs when the left side window is open. This allows two types of UV radiation into your cab: UVA and UVB. UVB causes sunburn. Although it doesn’t penetrate deeply into your skin, too much of it causes damage to the outer skin layers and can cause skin cancer. Fortunately, the glass of your side window blocks UVB.

However, the side window glass doesn’t block UVA. UVA doesn’t cause sun burn but it does penetrate more deeply into your skin. It ages the skin and induces DNA mutations that can lead to skin cancer. UVA also penetrates through clouds. Even on days when there’s no danger of getting a sunburn (because UVB doesn’t penetrate cloud cover as well) UVA still reaches through the clouds and into your cab.

The effect of prolonged UVA exposure is dramatically shown in this photo of a truck driver with 28 years of UVA exposure. Note the marked difference between the left and right sides of his face.

UV does its damage in a cumulative fashion from years of exposure. When driving in the summer months or at high altitudes, protect your skin with sun screen that blocks UVA and UVB. Wear a hat with a wide brim and wear sunglasses that block both types of UV radiation. UV also causes cumulative damage to the eyes and can cause cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

Protect yourself from UV damage by following the above suggestions, and make sure your insurance needs are fully covered. For information about commercial or owner operator truck insurance in South Carolina, please contact us.