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Drive a Bus? Look Out for Stress

When Driving Literally Drives One to Drink
 
Everyone experiences stress from work at some point, but bus drivers seem to suffer more than others. Rude passengers, limited breaks, traffic tie-ups, lack of access to restrooms, and long hours all factor in to the problem. A study in Alcoholism: Clinical / Experimental Research reports that some bus drivers are using after-hours alcohol to cope with stress created during the day.
 
Driving a bus is a very public job that requires a high level of attention, but on-the-job alcohol consumption is not compatible with the work.  Research shows that drinking during work hours occurs rarely among bus drivers.  Still, as Professor David Ragland's study shows, some bus drivers are using alcohol to help •wind down• from the day's stress.
 
Workers reported drinking more alcohol since beginning employment as a bus driver, and having negative social and health consequences due to their drinking.  But although most of the drivers reported more stress and more alcohol use, they had not yet become physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol.
 
Under Pressure
 
Ragland and his co-authors were approached by both the transit company and the union when medical exam results suggested that bus drivers had higher rates of high blood pressure than other workers. Union and company officials felt that this might be related to the high levels of stress bus drivers experience on the job.
 
According to Ragland, numerous other studies have shown that bus drivers have poorer health than workers in other occupations; conditions include heart disease, hypertension, and musculoskeletal disorders. Drivers need to manage the stress, or perhaps consider another occupation.

By Neil Whitehall
Get Bus Driver Jobs, Contributing Editor

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