Approximately 3,660 people were fatalities in large truck accidents in 2014. As a result of their large size in comparison to smaller passenger vehicles, only 16 percent of those deaths were of truck drivers. However, these drivers have a high risk of death due to their working conditions. Aside from commercial motor vehicle accidents, why do 12 percent of truck drivers die every year, while others in the profession experience the most non-fatal injuries of any other occupation?
Hours Spent Behind the Wheel
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the US Department of Transportation, has outlined work regulations for trucking companies and their drivers. These include hours of service, which are:
- Truck drivers can drive for no longer than 14 hours a day with a 10-hour break between these long rides.
- Truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break for every eight hours traveled.
However, truck drivers can be pressured by their companies to deliver their cargo by a certain time. Unfortunately, many of them violate these time regulations to avoid getting in trouble with their bosses – or possibly losing their jobs.
The Risk of Maintenance Failures
Tractor-trailer trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds; that’s about 26 times heavier than a standard passenger vehicle. The vehicle is at an increased risk for engine, brake and tire failures under that much strain. Not only is the trucker at risk, but so are the other drivers on the road.
An Unhealthy Lifestyle
According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 86 percent of truck drivers are obese. Out on the road for more than half of the day, very few truck drivers have three square meals. They frequently eat at fast food restaurants and diners because there are few other options along the highway, especially late at night.
Dangerous or Incorrect Loading
As mentioned, tractor trailer trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. When a large truck is improperly loaded, it can concentrate too much weight in one area. Decreased vehicle handling or a complete vehicle failure could result. Additionally, some of the materials that professional truck drivers transport are extremely hazardous. Although other drivers comprised 68 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2014, the likelihood for a truck driver increases when carrying dangerous cargo.
Hundreds of people are injured in truck accidents every day. If you or a loved one was a victim, do not hesitate to contact the experienced lawyers at Trantolo & Trantolo today.