The trucking industry, unable to predict how new ergonomic regulations might affect it, has begun to take a look at drivers' comfort. Despite the fact that ergonomic regulation appears to be dead for now, producers are defining ergonomics as providing a sense of well-being for workers, and they are working with truck manufacturers to design more comfortable trucks. A worker who's more comfortable in the workplace will be more productive and satisfied with the job—and stick around.

Items that were once considered luxuries—such as cab air conditioning, automatic transmissions, and air ride seats—are now standard. All major truck manufacturers use a computer-aided design (CAD) system that allows them to design the cab and seat placement for most people's sizes.

Paul Moore, fleet manager at Orange County, Calif., ready-mixed concrete supplier Catalina Pacific, recently worked with his main chassis supplier on a testing program to find the best driver seat. Several years ago, Moore also worked on shortening the company's trucks' cabs. He worked with the truck manufacturer to reduce the length of the fenders and the cab so that drivers could see better through the windshield, which would reduce their need to twist and bend.

The article includes ways to gather drivers' input when specifying new trucks and four ergonomic truck features to look for.