Wednesday, January 12, 2011

White paper? lists 42 different definitions for the word white.

There might be just as many forms of the term “white paper.”

White papers are sometimes academic, though quite often they’re little more than marketing tools printed on white paper – used to help pitch a product or lobby for an idea.

Which brings us to a recent “white paper,” and I use that term loosely, regarding sleep apnea and a company which promises to help drivers with “their unhealthy lifestyles” (their words).

ACS outlines the seven steps its product requires of drivers so they can prove they’ve been treated for apnea.

I’ll let the “white paper” speak for itself.

“In order to stay up long hours, many drivers smoke and eat junk food to ease road boredom. The daily environment of an over the road driver can be lonely and mundane. Eating and smoking tend to alleviate some of the anxiety caused by being away from home. … Most Truck Load drivers deprive themselves of years of living due to their unhealthy life style.”

Hmmm. Rather than quote any science here, they’re going to play armchair psychologist and leap from truckers being lonely, to truckers eating and smoking, to depriving themselves of being healthy, to not sleeping well.

That’s certainly one person’s unsupported assertion.

Of course, they failed to explore major concerns of drivers that hurt sleep and stress levels; things like a lack of safe parking, restrictive idling bans, and shipper and receiver issues.

The paper goes on to estimate that 86 percent of drivers are overweight, which is up markedly from other credible estimates of 55 percent.

As Land Line Magazine has reported, ties between medical supply companies, academic researchers and others – including one U.S. Senator – have been detailed.

Because ACS is “a Xerox company,” one can’t help but think the publicly traded giant wouldn’t mind truckers being required to purchase their products.

“With ACS on the driver and carrier’s side, the chances of waking a sleeping giant is increasing rapidly,” the paper says.

Instead of publishing more, ahem, white papers – ACS would do well by truckers to get facts straight and refrain from lobbying for more restrictions drivers must deal with.

Hinting that drivers are “Sleeping Giant(s)” and judging lifestyles doesn’t help oxygen levels or sleep cycles of anyone, and doesn’t solve real problems that do affect driver health.