Under normal conditions, people may not immediately think of truck driving when they consider the most dangerous jobs in America. Recently, these essential workforce heroes may finally be getting the acknowledgment they deserve as they deliver medication, equipment and other cargo that keep the country running.
In addition to the exposure to illness they face as they travel across the country interacting with people from all walks of life, here are other common dangers semitruck operators and delivery truck drivers face, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Far and away, the most common cause of fatal injuries is transportation incidents. Collisions with other vehicles and other roadway incidents caused 70% of the fatal injuries during the 10-year period of the study.
When it comes to nonfatal accidents, delivery drivers suffered 13% of their injuries in transportation incidents, while 14% of nonfatal injuries to truck drivers were due to transportation incidents.
Truckers and delivery drivers spend a considerable amount of their time in parking lots, loading dock areas and on the roadside as they load and unload their cargo and perform vehicle checks and maintenance. At all these times, they are vulnerable to pedestrian accidents. BLS data revealed that about 8% of fatal injuries occurred while drivers were on foot.
Because so much of the job involves lifting, 41% of the nonfatal injuries that delivery drivers sustain are due to overexertion. Tractor-trailer driver overexertion injuries were 35% of the total.
Fatigue is a common issue among truck drivers and delivery drivers, and a significant contributor to traffic accidents, illnesses and overexertion injuries. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration normally enforces an hours-of-service rule that limits how many hours a driver can work.
However, a recent Emergency Declaration from the FMCSA exempts drivers who are delivering essential supplies and equipment. The regulatory agency has not completely lifted the restrictions, but many drivers can expect to make longer trips as they perform this critical service across the United States.