The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a report that 840 truckers died on the job in 2017. This is up from 786 in 2016 and represents an overall jump of 25 percent since 2011. According to experts, trucker drivers average 26.8 deaths per 10,000 workers, which is markedly higher than the average across all professions of 3.5 deaths per 10,000 workers.
Truckers at fault
The experts go on to point out that the drivers often have only themselves to blame, with the top reasons being:
- Distracted driving: This is representative of the modern condition of many drivers on the road today.
- Excessive speed: These vehicles are prone to causing serious damage when out of control.
- Seatbelt use: 40 percent of truckers who died did not use their seatbelts.
- Driving under the influence: There is a 25 percent increase in the number of drivers who overdose on non-prescription drugs or are intoxicated.
Employers also part of the problem
Trucking and transport companies can also take steps to improve the statistics. These include:
- Add driver assistance: Install technological advances like lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
- Improve training: Steps can be taken to better educate drivers on how to operate the vehicles and utilize safety procedures.
- Enforce rules: Companies need to enforce these safety procedures.
- Monitor production: Drivers should be given realistic production goals that can be achieved through safe driving and reasonable hours.
- Drug testing: A zero tolerance approach will not be popular, but it may curtail risky behavior.
A danger to others as well
The unfortunate truth is that trucks are responsible for many times more motor vehicle deaths than the 840 truckers who died in 2017. Accidents involving semi-trucks are often severe or fatal for those in cars, SUVs and light duty trucks.
Victims and their loved ones will often need to seek compensation for lost earning potential due to death, income loss due to time away from work for recovery, medical expenses from life changing injuries as well as damage to property. An attorney with experience handling motor vehicles accidents and wrongful death suits can be a tremendous asset to those who suffer.