Driver shortages continue to plague certain segments of the trucking industry. To attract and retain the best drivers, fleet managers are putting driver comfort at the top of their priority list when spec'ng fleet equipment. The driver's seat is a good place to start.

According to Recaro North America, 40% of all truck drivers suffer from chronic back problems. The figure jumps to over 65% for professional drivers with 12-15 years behind the wheel. To help alleviate pressure on the spinal column, Recaro created the Airmatic-System, which helps drivers maintain an ergonomically correct seating posture. Air chambers in the lordosis support can be adjusted individually, providing a better fit.

CVG Interior Systems also recognizes the importance of an ergonomic seat, offering a number of options with its National Seating line that help make driving easier and more comfortable. The BackCycler, for example, provides a continuous spiral motion to improve circulation in the discs and reduce muscle and ligament strain. According to the manufacturer, it can prevent and ease back pain, as well as increase driver alertness.

The National Seating line also features extended seat slides or additional widths to accommodate drivers of different sizes. The company's newest model, the HP (High Performance) seat, for example, includes an 8.9-in. fore-and-aft slide, a wider seat cushion, more distance between armrests and improved road isolation.

Comfort Ride USA says clinical studies have shown the importance of changing the body's position and stimulating circulation during long periods behind the wheel. This helps reduce muscle fatigue and cramping, allowing drivers to travel longer, and more safely.

A variety of options on Comfort Ride USA products enable fleets to tailor seats to drivers' unique needs. These include ergonomically designed seat cushions, mechanical or air lumbar support, vibrating massage and dual adjustable armrests.

Seats Inc. offers many features designed to improve the ride and comfort of the driver. For example, a Swing-Link isolator and an anti-bottoming out design are available in many the company's seats. Other options include four-position cushion adjustment, two- or four-way air lumbar support, and a one-touch, fully reclined position.

Sears Seating says its Atlas line of seats were designed with direct input from truck drivers in order to provide a better ride with exceptional comfort and reliability. Two years of extensive research that took into consideration 16 different anthropometric measurements from nearly 200 male and female drivers helped to shape the contours, dimensions and control locations of Atlas seats.

The Atlas ToggleLink air suspension is one of the key components of the seat. It allows for internal end stops that eliminate topping and bottoming, and provides excellent lateral stability, the manufacturer notes. Among the features developed for driver convenience are StowAway armrests, enabling drivers to more easily maneuver from the cab to the sleeper compartment. The armrests can be lifted and folded behind the back of the seat when not needed.

Sears Seating announced an agreement with Peterbilt Motors Co. to provide more than 200 Peterbilt dealers with the ability to order Atlas seat options in a number of truck models. The seats include Sears' Elite 80 Series, which feature the company's ComfortZone support structure system, three-position independent seat extension and seat tilt, adjustable air lumbar and ToggleLink suspension. Sears also has an agreement with Freightliner LLC and Sterling Truck Corp. that enables dealers to order Atlas seats as a published option.

Earlier this year, Knoedler Manufacturing Co. added an air suspension seat with an especially flat suspension unit to its Air Chief line. The Low Rider seat, which is available for Class 6-8 vehicles, features a fore and aft isolator, seat cushion extension, foam adjustment system and multi-chamber air lumbar support, all designed for maximum driver comfort.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEB SITES:

BOSTROM SEATING
www.bostromseating.com

COMFORT RIDE USA
www.comfortride.com

GRA-MAG
www.gramagintsys.com

KNOEDLER MFG. CO.
www.knoedler.com

NATIONAL SEATING
www.nationalseating.com

RECARO NORTH AMERICA
www.recaronao.com

SEARS SEATING
www.searsseating.com

SEATS INC.
www.seatsinc.com