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Int J Epidemiol. 1988 Jun;17(2):255-62.

Excess risk of sickness and disease in bus drivers: a review and synthesis of epidemiological studies.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.


In an extensive search of available literature, 22 epidemiological studies that have examined health risks of bus drivers were identified. These studies focus on three main disease categories: (1) cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, (2) gastrointestinal illnesses, including peptic ulcer and digestive problems, and (3) musculoskeletal problems including back and neck pain. The studies consistently report that bus drivers have higher raes of mortality, morbidity, and absence due to illness when compared to employees from a wide range of other occupational groups. Increased disease rates have been found for drivers regardless of the use of different research methodologies, measurement techniques and comparison groups. When evaluating the impact of bias on the estimates of risk, it appears likely that findings are conservative: strong systematic selective factors have probably favoured the elimination of those in poorer health both at the time of entry into and exit from the job of bus driving and other sources of bias have most likely caused underestimations of risk. Nevertheless, there remain questions that need careful assessment before firm conclusions can be made about whether increased disease rates result from driving a bus. Such questions, coupled with the consistent findings of heightened risk of disease, make urban bus drivers an appropriate and promising occupational group in which to study further the potential adverse effects of the work environment on employee health.

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