Truck driving is a tough, demanding job that requires a lot of focus and physical strength. However, truck drivers are also one of the most dangerous jobs in America regarding fatalities, so it is essential to ask yourself if you are doing all you can to reduce the risk of trucking.
In 2016, truck driving accounted for 5.2% of all fatal injuries in the United States. This was lower than the number of fatalities caused by fishing and hunting combined (10.3%) but far higher than those caused by private passenger vehicles (3.0%).
The leading cause of truck-related fatalities was car accidents (61%), followed by pedestrian-related incidents (30%) and motorcyclists (4%).
Factors Leading to Truck Driving Fatality
1. The nature of the profession
Truck drivers drive long distances in a short amount of time, which stresses both man and machine. This leads to sleep deprivation and an increased risk of accidents.
The nature of the work also means that truckers constantly have to juggle other errands in addition to driving, such as loading and unloading cargo and taking care of the paperwork.
2. The presence of distracted drivers
Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road and are exposed to nearly every distraction known to man, including talking on the phone, listening to music, eating, and reading. This leads to decreased concentration, making it difficult for truckers to keep their eyes on the road.
3. How and where trucks are driven at night
Most truck accidents happen during the late-night and early morning hours when it is dark. Since trucks cannot be driven on all roads at night, most nighttime trucking is done on highways, where speeds are higher, and lane changes are frequent.
4. Alcohol abuse or drug usage by truckers
Trucking is a high-stress profession that often leads to alcohol abuse or drug usage. Truck drivers may consume these substances to relax and deal with the job’s stress. Unfortunately, this only leads people to drink more or take more drugs, and the cycle leads to truck carnages.
5. Truck driving accidents in general
Trucks are big and heavy, making them prone to getting involved in accidents. Additionally, trucks are often driven on roads without a divider, causing larger vehicles to hit smaller vehicles from behind or sideswipe them.
How to Curb Truck Accidents
1. Have a designated driver
Truck drivers are required to take their mandatory breaks, but separating the job of driving from being a passenger can significantly decrease risk.
2. Avoid late-night and early morning hours if possible
Late-night and early-morning travels are inconvenienced by poor vision and congestion. If you must drive at these times, make sure you are well-rested and sober and that your vehicle is in good working order.
3. Avoid driving on highways if possible
Highways are fast and feature constant lane changes and mergers, which are all risky possibilities for truck drivers who do not pay attention.
4. Avoid distractions at all costs
The best way to prevent accidents is to avoid distractions, especially those involving alcohol or hard drugs.
Truck drivers are not the safest drivers for fatal accidents, but it is still essential to ask yourself whether you are doing all you can to decrease the risk of having an accident. Drivers and trucking companies, especially in Colorado, are advised to have a truck accident lawyer in Colorado in case of any truck-related accident, be it fatal or minor.