Truck Driving is One of the Deadliest Jobs in America: Who is at Risk?

By Peter DePaolis

The trucking industry requires a lot from their workers. Not only do workers have horrible hours, but the pay is not worth the physical demands on the body. Furthermore, the lifestyle puts many truck drivers at risk for health conditions, such as diabetes, heart conditions, and blood clots.

While the drivers are certainly at risk, the demands on those drivers make it clear that motorists and pedestrians on the road with truckers could be at high risk for injury or fatal accidents too.

The Demands for the Modern-Day Truck Operator

The requirements of the job are extensive, and while federal and state level protections are there to prevent drivers from being overworked, some still pay the price. First, drivers can haul up to 14 hours straight in a single day. Then, they receive ten hours off before their next shift starts.

Rarely does a truck operator have more than one day off per week to rest and recuperate. Also, the chance of dying in an accident is extremely high for these professionals. The death of truckers in automobile accidents accounts for 12 percent of the work-related deaths in the United States, says the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

These risks all come with a meager salary of $38,000 per year. Truckers who work 4400 hours per year, the industry average, come out to about $8.70 per hour.

Those working in the industry almost have to be willing to take on the low pay, a lifestyle that contributes to poor health, and the continual stress that comes from making stops, finding a safe place to sleep, and still staying awake on the road for 14 hours per day.

Common Injuries from Trucking Accidents

While truck drivers are certainly at risk for injuries, the people on the road with them are equally at risk. Truck and automobile accidents create some of the most catastrophic injuries. Many of these accidents result in permanent disabilities or are fatal.

These injuries can include:

  • Abdominal Injuries: The sheer force of a semi-truck impacting a passenger vehicle can lead to severe abdominal injuries including internal bleeding, organ damage, and so forth.
  • Amputations: Another common injury seen in these types of impacts is amputations. A limb or multiple limbs may be amputated during the accident or as a life-saving measure during surgery.
  • Broken Bones: Multiple broken bones are common in these types of accidents because the impact of a semi-truck against a passenger vehicle often leaves little of the passenger car behind.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: A traumatic brain injury could be minor or severe. Regardless, it often leaves the victim with some form of permanent deficit.
  • Spinal Cord Injury: Just like broken bones, a spinal cord injury is very likely after a collision with a semi-truck. Spinal cord injuries could result in parts of the body having limited feeling and sensation to being as severe as paralysis.
  • Whiplash: A rear-end from a semi-truck could lead to broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and even severe cases of whiplash. Severe cases of whiplash often result in long-term pain, and some victims have such chronic pain that they cannot resume work or activities as they did before the accident.

Holding Trucking Companies Liable for the Injuries They Cause

While truck drivers might be negligent, often it is their employers who are the responsible party for trucking accidents. If you are injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, speak with an attorney from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP today. Our attorneys are here to help you with your case, and we aggressively fight for your right to compensation.

Meet with us for a free case evaluation by contacting us at one of our three locations here on the East Coast or by filling out an online contact form.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.