The U.S. Department of Labor recently posted a blog highlighting the somewhat surprising dangers to our profession. I wasn’t surprised as I remember reading this article a few years ago. Even with the recent police shootings and the deserved attention given to first responders – those professions are more likely to come home at the end of their shift than truck drivers.
What can we do to change this? Not much regrettably. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in 2017, 36 officers were killed as a result of a traffic related crash. That was 31 auto related and 5 motorcycle related. 46 officers were shot to death in 2017. The data shows that police officers are almost as likely to die as a result of traffic related crash as being shot. Our highways continue to be a killing field where over 30,000 people die in the U.S each year. Unfortunately, we make our living on this very dangerous real estate.
We can do our best to slow down and drive more defensively. Most of the dash cam videos I’ve watched are supposed to be displaying “four wheelers” driving stupidly. They have also shown dangerous driving by truck drivers. Following too closely, driving too fast, slow reaction times, not anticipating the next move of motorists – just to name a few. It’s almost as if some truckers would rather stand firm on principle then avoid a crash.
Truckers are also extremely likely to get hurt on the job. I’m not speaking of crash related injuries. The injuries that are most likely to cause us to miss work result from slips, trips and falls, followed by overexertion. There is a lot we can do about these injuries. Get into strong physical shape! Many of these injuries could be avoided by losing weight and exercising. The FMCSA should start disqualifying drivers based on a stricter interpretation of the body mass index (BMI) calculation. It benefits the disqualified driver firstly. If they can’t maintain their weight at a satisfactory level, then this occupation will surely lead to an early death, not to mention a strong likelihood of injury on the job.
In conclusion, we are part of a dangerous occupation. There’s no denying this as the statistics are clear. However, we as professionals can keep from being a statistic by driving safely and getting our bodies into shape. Trucking is very demanding on our health and special effort must be made to make our careers and lives last for the long haul.