When you think of the deadly or dangerous jobs in America, trucking is probably not the first thing to come to mind. But as it turns out, transportation by truck is significantly more dangerous than most other industries in the US.
Not only do truck drivers face dangers on their own, but they share a road with other motor vehicles who can also easily get injured from a truck-related accident. Because of the sheer size and weight of the vehicle, the damage they can cause to other drivers is much greater than a standard car. Because of this, truck drivers have a greater level of responsibility to be safer than most other people on the road. They are responsible for their safety, their cargo, and the safety of others on the road. This is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly. According to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, more than one of every seven work-related deaths was directly related to heavy-duty trucking. The data suggest there was an increase from the previous year. In 2019, there had been 843 trucker deaths, which was 1.4 percent higher than the previous year which had 831 trucker deaths. There has been an uptick in trucker deaths since 2015 where the numbers had previously been falling off.
Truckers die for a lot of reasons. Road infrastructure can play a role in creating dangerous situations for truck drivers. So can defective truck parts. Perhaps the greatest risk, though, is poor health.
Trucking is a sedentary job. They are required to travel long distances and only really make stops for food and fuel. Sitting and eating is not good for anyone, and is a reason why obesity in the US is such a major problem. Obesity leads to a number of health problems, the most fatal being heart disease. The Corporate Wellness Magazine stated that more than 50% of truck drivers are obese, compared to the national rate of 26.7 percent. Compared to the general population, the prevalence of diabetes is 50 percent higher and 87 percent of truck drivers have hypertension (high blood pressure) or pre-hypertension.
On top of that, truckers work long hours and are pressured to meet time deadlines. They often don’t get as much rest as is recommended, causing them to become fatigued while driving. Sleep deprivation not only leads to poor health, but a fatigued truck driver is more susceptible to causing an accident, injuring himself and others.
As time goes on, more and more vehicles are equipped with tools that help drivers with navigation and safety. However, a lot of this technology is not being implemented into trucks. This means that truck drivers have no assistive tech to help them maneuver these excessively large vehicles around. The implementation of features like blind spot warnings, forward collision alerts, and more can make a drastic difference in how truck drivers stay safe on the road.
Although we are focusing on truck driver deaths, we must also keep in mind that they are not the only ones who face hazards from the trucking industry. Trucks also have to share the roads with other drivers. It is rare to drive on the Long Island Expressway without seeing at least one truck on the road with you.
Car accidents, although scary, happen all the time and most of them are not fatal. However, If a vehicle is involved in an accident with a heavy-duty truck, the chances are higher that there will be severe injuries and even death. It is not uncommon for the passenger vehicle to be left unrecognizable after a collision with a truck.
Unlike standard cars, the sheer size and dimensions of a truck make it more difficult for them to make an evasive maneuver if necessary. This means that sometimes a truck accident may be unavoidable. Additionally, trucks have larger blind spots that make it more difficult to spot cars on the road next to them.
When you consider other dangerous jobs, they typically do not involve the possible injury of another person. Those dangerous jobs are isolated and do not typically cause harm to others around them, although they can. In 2018, it was reported that 4,678 people who had been involved in a collision with a large truck died as a result. Some injuries that can occur if you are involved in a truck accident involving:
All of these injuries can require long-term medical treatment and can alter your life entirely. This is why it’s important that truckers and drivers alike are extra careful when sharing the road with trucks.
About the Author
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.