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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ambulatory heart rate of professional taxi drivers while driving without their typical psychosocial work stressors: a pilot study.

  • Author(s): Choi, BongKyoo
  • Choi, SangJun
  • Jeong, JeeYeon
  • Lee, JiWon
  • Shu, Shi
  • Yu, Nu
  • Ko, SangBaek
  • Zhu, Yifang
  • et al.

BACKGROUND:Few studies have examined ambulatory cardiovascular physiological parameters of taxi drivers while driving in relation to their occupational hazards. This study aims to investigate and quantify the impact of worksite physical hazards as a whole on ambulatory heart rate of professional taxi drivers while driving without their typical worksite psychosocial stressors. METHODS:Ambulatory heart rate (HRdriving) of 13 non-smoking male taxi drivers (24 to 67 years old) while driving was continuously assessed on their 6-hour experimental on-road driving in Los Angeles. Percent maximum HR range (PMHRdriving) of the drivers while driving was estimated based on the individual HRdriving values and US adult population resting HR (HRrest) reference data. For analyses, the HRdriving and PMHRdriving data were split and averaged into 5-min segments. Five physical hazards inside taxi cabs were also monitored while driving. Work stress and work hours on typical work days were self-reported. RESULTS:The means of the ambulatory 5-min HRdriving and PMHRdriving values of the 13 drivers were 80.5 bpm (11.2 bpm higher than their mean HRrest) and 10.7 % (range, 5.7 to 19.9 %), respectively. The means were lower than the upper limits of ambulatory HR and PMHR for a sustainable 8-hour work (35 bpm above HRrest and 30 % PMHR), although 15-27 % of the 5-min HRdriving and PMHRdriving values of one driver were higher than the limits. The levels of the five physical hazards among the drivers were modest: temperature (26.4 ± 3.0 °C), relative humidity (40.7 ± 10.4 %), PM2.5 (21.5 ± 7.9 μg/m3), CO2 (1,267.1 ± 580.0 ppm) and noise (69.7 ± 3.0 dBA). The drivers worked, on average, 72 h per week and more than half of them reported that their job were often stressful. CONCLUSIONS:The impact of physical worksite hazards alone on ambulatory HR of professional taxi drivers in Los Angeles generally appeared to be minor. Future ambulatory heart rate studies including both physical and psychosocial hazards of professional taxi drivers are warranted.

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