Considering how big a truck is, it might be a surprise to realize that they aren’t all that safe. There are a lot of risks that trust drivers face every day. Enough risks that truck driving is considered one of the most dangerous jobs here in America.
To understand just what makes trust driving so dangerous, we’ll take a look at the root causes of many truck accidents. We’ll look at the danger that a truck presents to the other drivers on the road, as well as how other drivers have a tendency to underestimate that danger. Finally, we’ll look at what factors make truck driving dangerous for truck drivers even when they aren’t on the road.
What Causes a Truck Accident?
Before we answer that question, let’s first take a look at some statistics about truck driving accidents:
- More truck drivers are injured on the job than any other occupation, according to the Labor Department
- In 2016, there were 5,190 workplace deaths; 786 of those were truck drivers alone
- It’s only getting more dangerous: the fatality rate of truck driving accidents has increased by roughly 20 percent in the last decade
- The fatality rate for truck drivers is 24.7 per 100,000 drivers
So those stats tell us a lot about whether or not truck driving is really as dangerous as it seems. It absolutely is. It is by and far one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Yet it’s also an incredibly important job, so we can’t just get rid of truck drivers. The best thing we can do is offer education on what causes truck accidents.
Truck drivers have to operate incredibly heavy equipment. The weight of the equipment is important to keep in mind because it makes it harder to stop a truck, and it makes the impact a truck has in a crash incredibly devastating.
While conditions of ice, snow, or rain can make for slippery roads and a higher likelihood of accidents occurring, this is far from the biggest danger. Many trucks have poorly-maintained braking systems, mostly as a way to save money rather than pay for high-cost but important repairs. There is also a lot of encouragement from management to ignore safety regulations to move products faster.
We’ll talk more about the way that employers make truck driving a more dangerous career than it has to be in a moment.
What Happens when a Truck Crashes Into Another Vehicle?
Again, it is important to keep in mind the sheer size of a truck. They are massive; like a giant when compared to the typical passenger vehicle. This size difference is one of the reasons that truck drivers must be careful when driving.
When a car hits a car, there is a chance of injury or death but most crashes aren’t overly serious: rear-endings, scrapes, and light collisions make up the majority of car accidents. However, when a passenger vehicle and truck crash it is a much different story. The size of a truck means that there is basically no such thing as a light accident. Trucks have a tendency to demolish the vehicles they crash into and this means a much higher rate of serious injury or death.
This is an even bigger problem when you consider how often cars will cut off trucks. There is a phenomenon whereby people tend to overestimate how much time they have to cut off or swerve past a large truck and this miscalculation is often fatal.
What Dangerous Do Truck Drivers Face Apart from Accidents?
While trucker drivers face a lot of risks on the road, many of those risks exist primarily because of conditions that begin off the road.
One offroad risk that drivers face is the loading or unloading of their trucks. Drivers can sustain injuries during this process. This is obvious if the driver is physically helping in the unloading but it can also occur because of untrained crews or poorly maintained loading docks.
We’ve already mentioned that many trucking companies fail to appropriately repair and keep their trucks in the best condition. Wear and tear on the physical hardware can lead to issues while out on the road.
But an even bigger wear and tear issue is that of the drivers themselves. Truck drivers are regularly pushed to get less sleep, to continue on trucking despite their own fatigue, or the way that lack of sleep and overexertion can cause them to take bigger risks. Tired drivers are much more likely to be involved in accidents.
This corporate culture that values constant movement above personal health and safety has fostered an environment where many truck drivers feel like they have to use and abuse chemical substances just to keep their job and this further increases the chance of accidents while also increasing the potential health risks that drivers will face.
Health risks are numerous in the field, too, as the work is high in stress and this takes a number of truck drivers’ health.
If you are a truck driver, it is important to remember that many of the causes of accidents are made up of elements that you can control. However, trucking companies, other drivers, and weather conditions can all contribute to a truck accident and they each add layers to any lawsuit arising out of a truck driving accident.
What Should I Do If I Have a Trucking Accident?
The first thing to do is to seek medical help and to speak with the authorities. Following this, you will want to reach out to The Rizzuto Law Firm to see how an experienced attorney can help you. They will listen to your particular situation and give you detailed information on what steps they believe can and should be taken next. Truck accidents are complicated situations, so it will take your attorney time to research and put together an argument; the sooner you reach out, the sooner they can get working on your case to ensure they have the strongest argument possible for why you deserve compensation for what you went through.