Fit for the Road

Updated Aug 12, 2014

TA and Petro Launch Driver Wellness Program

TravelCenters of America officially launched the StayFit driver health and wellness initiative Jan. 1.

The program is designed to assist drivers in making healthier choices on the road. “A little over a year ago,” says TA/Petro Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Tom Liutkus, “our president, Tom O’Brien, started a concept where his senior management team would all go out to several of our sites and invite about a dozen drivers to sit down and have a meal with them. In all cases, we would sit down and have a meal together and … just talk about life on the road, the challenges that drivers have, the needs that they have and how we can help them become successful. One of the items that came out of this dialogue was almost a plea: ‘Help us live healthier on the road.’”

One of the primary benefits of the program will be the addition of the StayFit icon to menu items at Petro Iron Skillet, TA Country Pride and other full-service restaurants; these icons denote menu items deemed “healthier-for-you” options. “We’re trying to provide drivers with some options when it comes to diet,” Liutkus says.

This icon also will appear on grocery and snack items at TA and Petro travel stores to designate items lower in calories, sugar, carbohydrates or sodium or with other dietary advantages designated by their producer as better for you.

In addition, 10 Petro and TA travel stores along I-95 and I-40 will have driver fitness rooms available for drivers who are members of UltraONE, a free rewards program offered by TA. Liutkus says the equipment will be primarily aerobic equipment, such as stationary bicycles, at first. “It’s a starting point,” he says. “We want to at least provide an opportunity, and we certainly have the space.” Other locations will offer maps of local walking and jogging trails.

TA also will team with the St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund ( to provide health-related information, screenings and different types of health services to drivers at various locations through the non-profit’s Medical Resource Vehicle.

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“Drivers … live in their trucks, and they don’t get home often enough,” Liutkus says. “We’re really trying to look at our role and be that home away from home. So if we can help them with these healthier options, it just lives by our mission in serving them.”

CDL Medical Refresher

Do you think you know what kind of health you have to be in to pass your CDL medical exam? Take our quiz and find out!

1. T or F: A person who has lost an arm or leg can potentially return to driving.

2. T or F: A person with any type of diabetes is automatically disqualified.

3. T or F: Your blood pressure must be 120/80 (considered “normal”) to pass the CDL medical certification test.

4. T or F: If your BMI is greater than 35, you will be required to take a sleep apnea test.

5. T or F: There are no standards relating to specific mental illnesses.

6. T or F: Your eyesight must be 20/40, but this can be with the aid of corrective lenses.

7. T or F: A clinical diagnosis of alcoholism disqualifies you.

8. T or F: Under CSA, medical tests can be ordered at the whim of a roadside agent.

9. T or F: If you wear a hearing aid, you can still maintain your CDL if you pass hearing portions of the test.

10. T or F: There are no exceptions to FMCSA’s written rules for CDL medical certification.


1. True. A driver who has lost a limb can be granted a skill performance evaluation (SPE) certificate, which is an alternate form of certification based on the ability to perform certain standard actions related to driving a CMV.

2. False. Only insulin-dependent diabetics may be disqualified. Those who manage their diabetes by other methods, such as diet and exercise, are still eligible.

3. False. A blood pressure reading of less than 180/110 is needed to maintain your CDL. Those with higher BP may obtain a temporary certificate while attempting to get their numbers to an acceptable level.

4. False. There are currently no benchmark numbers, for BMI or otherwise, related to testing for sleep apnea.

5. True. While a driver may be disqualified for a mental, nervous or psychiatric disorder, the need for disqualification is largely left to the doctor’s discretion with no specific disorders singled out.

6. True. Eyesight must be at least 20/40 in each eye, with or without the aid of glasses or contacts. Drivers must also have a field of vision of at least 70 degrees horizontally with each eye and must not be red-green colorblind.

7. True. The rule is very specific on this one: If you receive a clinical diagnosis of alcoholism, you will be disqualified.

8. False. CSA does not include a governmental requirement for any type of medical testing.

9. True. As long as hearing aid wearers can hear a forced whisper in the better ear at a minimum distance of five feet and do not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz and 2,000 Hz, he or she passes.

10. False. Drivers can be granted exceptions to the vision and diabetes portions of FMCSA’s standards by submitting the proper paperwork and with backing from a medical professional. Additionally, many of the standards are left somewhat to the certifying doctor’s ­interpretation.

Driver Health Tip

“Pack as much raw fruits and veggies in your cooler that you can. If losing weight is the goal, you know, cut calories and move that body for 15-30 minutes a day. When driving get out and stretch after 250 miles.”

Pete Mycek, driver for Green Circle Growers, pictured with son Jacob



Good Choice, Bad Choice: Sonic

Choose a grilled wrap over calorie-laden toasters

Good choice: Grilled Chicken Wrap

Bad choice: Chicken Club Toaster

The Difference: The Grilled Chicken Wrap has 390 calories and 14g of total fat. The Chicken Club Toaster has nearly twice the amount of calories (740) and more than three times the amount of fat (46g). The difference in portion size is negligible, but the wrap has far less fat and fewer calories, no trans fat (compared to the toaster’s 0.5g), the same amount of protein (28g), less sugar, fewer carbs and roughly a third as much saturated fat (3.5g to the toaster’s 11g).

Next time you choose Sonic, avoid the calories and fat in the Toasters and opt for a wrap.