When you think about a “dangerous job,” what comes to mind? You might immediately jump to policeman or firefighter, but in truth, those two occupations don’t even crack the top ten. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation incidents such as truck accidents were the most frequent type of on-the-job fatality in 2018, at 2,080, and truck drivers had the most fatalities out of all occupational groups, coming in at 966 deaths for the year.
It puts them at the head of a top ten list also occupied by farmers, maintenance workers, construction workers, roofers, and loggers. It also reinforces what experts like Jeremy Rosenthal, an accident attorney in Denver, have always known about truck driving — it’s a dangerous job that comes with a significant amount of risk. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. Let’s take a look at what makes trucking so dangerous compared to other professions.
Why Trucking Comes With So Much Risk
It seems obvious on its face, doesn’t it? Though they are well trained, truck drivers are still tasked with a rather momentous feat — transporting upwards of 80,000 pounds worth of cargo at a time across the roadways of America. Being so heavy, trucks are dangerous enough vehicles as it is. Even in the best conditions, that much vehicle is difficult to move around.
Drivers don’t always benefit from the best conditions, though, and the reality of truck driving often exposes its workers to dangerous weather conditions that make the road even more of a hassle. Rain, snow, ice, and other kinds of inclement weather make operating a truck that much harder, and increase the likelihood of those terrible accidents. Furthermore, truckers are often put in the position of driving with minimal sleep, which can impact their alertness and reaction time.
The Hidden Risks Of Trucking
These factors alone make trucking quite the dangerous occupation, but there are further risks still, hidden behind the lifestyle this job demands. Because of the long, sedentary hours on the road, truckers are more prone to being obese. Combined with the fact that they are also more likely to smoke, and you’ll find that years working a truck driving job can increase the likelihood of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
It’s a long and arduous road for truckers, but there are efforts to improve matters. Advances in technology and training, along with reforms in overall practice of trucking could bring those fatality numbers down and get the occupation out of the top ten when it comes to workplace fatalities.