When you hear that truck driving is a deadly job, your mind inevitably travels towards visions of horrible accidents. You may be surprised, then, to find out that accidents aren’t the first cause of trucker death. The truth is this: Due to the lifestyle of truckers, ill-health is the leading cause of death in the profession. Here are the facts:
There is no doubt that accidents are a concern in the trucking industry. Of all occupational deaths, deaths of truckers resulting from accidents account for 12 percent of work-related deaths in the nation. Consider that truckers drive an average of 14 hours per day, and take one day off each week. Though there are laws that dictate how many hours a trucker can work, these laws are routinely broken. So much time spent on the road puts truckers at a higher risk for accidents than the average driver.
Obesity leads to heart disease; it’s a truth that we are all aware of. Not only do truckers spend long hours on the road, but they rarely eat healthy meals. Even more rarely do truckers eat three meals a day. Instead, these men and women live off of interstate food and high-calorie snacks. 86 percent of the three million truckers in America are overweight or obese. 92 percent of these men and women report not exercising regularly. It should be no surprise that heart disease is a leading culprit in the death of these professionals.
3. No Health Care
It’s not that truckers do not have access to the same health care as the rest of us; it’s that they don’t have time to stop driving to keep an appointment. It’s not unusual for truck drivers to simply ignore symptoms of poor health, no matter how serious.
Depression is also a very real problem for truckers. Turnover in the trucking industry sits at a staggering 100 percent. Part of this turnover can be attributed to depression caused by long hours spent away from home, loneliness and the inability to establish work relationships.
4. Inability to Sleep
All truck drivers are not insomniacs, nor do all truckers have the desire to push it through the night. Unfortunately, with the number of truckers on America’s highways, there are only so many spots at rest areas. Think about how difficult it can be to find a parking spot in your small car. Now imagine trying to find a parking spot with 60 extra feet traveling behind you.
Truckers simply may not have the time to travel dozens of miles off of their chosen route to locate a place to park their rig. This often forces drivers to choose between sleeping in unsafe areas or driving through the night.
People outside of the profession have a romantic notion about driving over the open road with the freedom that it entails. People within the profession know how dangerous truck driving can really be. From accidents to deadly health problems, trucking is one of the most deadly occupations out there.
Dan Nielson hauls horses to rodeos and recommends bulldog trailer jacks for easy trailer management.