Driving a Truck is a Tough Job, and That Can Make it Tough for Everyone

March 22nd, 2017 by Attorney Julie Butcher

Driving a tractor trailer in Kentucky is a very challenging job for many reasons. These trucks are on the road all the time and can fall victim to other, negligent drivers. Truck drivers face a steady push to get more done in less time. Weather conditions can turn what normally would be an easy drive to one that may be life threatening. Whatever the cause, the problems truck drivers face trickle down to those of us sharing the roads with them.

In 2015, 745 truck drivers were killed on the job, reports Trucks.com, down from 761 in 2014. Trucking transportation occupations account for just more than a quarter of all work-related deaths in 2015, more than any other job, according to an annual workplace fatality report from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Those deaths have increased 11.2% over the past five years. Increased demand is putting more tractor trailers on the road, causing higher accident rates and driver deaths, according to trucking industry experts. Some of the issues drivers face are:

  • There’s always danger on our roads and highways that drivers can’t control, like weather, road conditions and other drivers. Studies by the Department of Transportation and AAA found that about two-thirds of fatal truck accidents are caused by a vehicle other than the truck.
  • Compensation is often based on productivity, emphasizing getting more done in less time, which can conflict with safety.
  • Long hours, low pay and bad working conditions result in an annual turnover that’s about 100%, putting inexperienced truck drivers on the road. Because trucking is so competitive, profit margins are thin, and low pay can result in chronic turnover problems and driver shortages.
  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has no crashworthiness standards for heavy-duty trucks. While every new car has air bags, they’re not required for heavy duty trucks.

In 2015 traffic accidents caused most work-related truck driver deaths.

  • Most of those deaths were caused by multiple traumatic injuries or disorders.
  • The vast majority of fatalities were men, accounting for 699 of the 745 deaths.
  • Women may be safer truck drivers. They make up 5% to 6% of truck drivers but account for only 1% of trucking industry deaths.

Not only does the trucking industry have the largest number of deaths, truck drivers take off 22 days of work a year, on average, for job-related injuries and illness, more than any other U.S. occupation.

If commercial trucks were alone on the roads, their problems wouldn’t impact the rest of us going about our business and getting to and from work. But because there are so many trucks in use and they are potentially so dangerous, the issues the drivers and the trucking industry face endanger us all.

If you or a family member has been injured in a commercial truck accident in Kentucky, you can rely on the Julie Butcher Law Office, which has extensive experience handling the claims of those injured in commercial motor vehicle accidents. Call us at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the circumstances of your case and how we might help your family obtain justice.