Truckers Charge Ahead in America’s Most Dangerous Jobs
Being a trucker remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., and the highest number of occupational fatalities each year, by a wide margin, come from transportation accidents. With this in mind, truckers and others who work on the road need to be more careful than ever before.
The Most Dangerous Jobs in America
Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 10 most dangerous career fields in 2016 were:
- Logging workers
- Fishers and related fishing workers
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
- Refuse and recyclable material collectors
- Structural iron and steel workers
- Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
- Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
- First-line supervisor of construction trades and extraction workers
- Grounds maintenance workers
Many of these jobs have been dangerous for decades, not just the last few years. This ranking is based on the fatality rates of workers per 100,000 full-time workers in each field. In terms of actual numerical fatalities, however, drivers and truck drivers were far more at risk, accounting for 918 total deaths. Logging workers had only 91 deaths by comparison, but since there are far more truck drivers and sales workers on the road than loggers, the loggers remain at the top of the list.
Causes of Fatal Occupational Injuries
In order to fully appreciate the dangers that truck drivers face, it is important to look at not just the fatality rates for each industry, but also at the type of accident or event that caused it. With that in mind, of the 5,190 deaths that occurred in 2016, a staggering 2,083 of them happened in transportation incidents. That is much more than the second- and third-highest causes of occupational fatalities combined.
Of those 2,083 transportation incidents, 1,252 of them were due to crashes involving motorized vehicles. This includes things like collisions with other vehicles, non-collision incidents like jackknifing, and non-roadway incidents. In other words, in 2016, nearly 25% of all workplace fatalities were due to accidents involving a truck or other vehicle.
The Hazards of Trucking
Truckers face numerous hazards on the roads. One big danger is another driver who does not appreciate the realities of operating a massive vehicle on a highway. This includes the fact that large, heavy trucks are not able to stop as quickly as other vehicles, which is why drivers need to give them plenty of space and not cut them off when passing. The field of vision for a truck driver is also quite limited, especially to the sides and behind the vehicle, so other drivers need to avoid remaining in these areas, which render them invisible to the trucker.
Commercial truck drivers also face hazards that do not involve other vehicles or drivers, particularly the risk of jackknifing. A jackknife occurs when the cab of a truck stops or moves in one direction and its trailer either continues or moves in a different direction. This causes the truck and trailer to basically fold in half. Not only is this dangerous to other people on the road, but it can also cause a rollover or other damage to the cab, which has the potential to seriously injure the driver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study in 2014 that named fatigue, drinking alcohol, and speeding as the major factors in motor vehicle crashes overall—and found that trucker behavior accounts for 87% of large truck crashes.
Truckers Need to Share the Road
Fatal occupational injuries in Nebraska increased from 50 in 2015 to 60 in 2016, according to the data from the BLS. While that is less than the 545 deaths in Texas in 2016, it is still far too high a number. No one should go to work and not come home because of an occupational accident, and that includes truck drivers.
It is important for every driver to share the road and for trucking companies to follow proper guidelines and keep people safe. When large trucks crash on the road, the truck driver is usually the last one hurt. Occupants in passenger vehicles made up 73.5% of the fatalities in collisions involving large trucks in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
When you’re in a crash with an 80,000-pound big rig, you’re often left holding the bill. Trucking companies and their drivers are aggressive in denying responsibility, so you should contact an experienced Omaha truck accident attorney as soon as possible. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., founding attorney Jason Bottlinger began his career defending insurance companies in high-dollar disputes. The knowledge he gained from that experience gives him an edge now in representing victims in claims against large trucking companies. If you or your loved one was seriously hurt in a truck collision, please call (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.
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