According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, delivery truck drivers have physically demanding jobs. Some believe that truck drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Even though the American Trucking Association (ATA) reports that truck crashes have continued to decrease since 1980, truck driving has many hazards beyond car accidents.
Hazards Associated with Truck Driving
Here are a few of the dangers truck drivers face on a daily basis.
The ATA suggests that driver fatigue is underreported. Driver fatigue is cited in under 2% of all truck accidents, but it’s believed that it is actually a factor in more than 7% of all crashes. Driver fatigue is a serious problem for many commercial drivers, especially those who drive during the night.
Drivers need to be alert when they are on the road to prevent accidents. Driver fatigue can also impact a driver’s overall physical health. Drivers who don’t get enough sleep may make poor decisions or react too slowly to weather or driving conditions, increasing the risk of an accident or damage to the truck.
Physical Health Issues
Drivers who spend multiple hours on the road often face severe health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that many long-haul truck drivers face several medical conditions due to their sedentary nature. Many truck drivers smoke, which can lead to lung or mouth cancer.
The CDC also found that truck drivers were more likely to be overweight, which increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Truck drivers may experience musculoskeletal issues from sitting for long periods of time, too. Exposure to diesel fumes and hazardous chemicals is another issue that leads to long-term health issues for many drivers.
Mental Health Issues
Truck drivers often experience stress. When stress goes untreated, it can lead to physical health issues. Drivers face stress in heavy traffic, but they can also deal with stress from deadlines or being away from their loved ones for many days. Another common problem with truck drivers is depression or anxiety. Mental health issues can be a big problem and dangerous situation for drivers.
Truck drivers spend a lot of time in traffic, which increases their risk of being in an accident. According to the ATA, most truck drivers don’t cause the accidents they’re involved in. In 91% of fatal head-on collisions with passenger vehicles, the passenger vehicle was the one that crossed the median into the wrong lane.
Truck drivers are also less likely to use drugs or alcohol when driving than other drivers. DUIs are rare in the trucking industry, but trucks have to be on alert for other drivers. Some drivers take stimulants to stay alert, which is another addiction that can lead to health issues later on.
Truck drivers also have to lift cargo, which can be very heavy. Lifting improperly can cause back and leg issues, and overexertion can cause other health issues.
Getting up in the back of a truck may seem like a simple task, but it can be hazardous if the load has shifted or the weather makes the truck floor slippery. A fall from a trailer deck can have serious consequences. Consider installing a way to carry a ladder on the truck to give drivers the right equipment.
Emergency vehicles are often out late at night or in unsafe neighborhoods. Truck stops aren’t always safe to park at, depending on the community. Unknown loading docks can be fraught with hazards that can slow a driver down. Having the right equipment in trucks to prevent unsafe situations can help drivers lock down trucks or find a safer place to park and rest.
Ask an Upfitter About Services That Protect Your Drivers
Americans rely on truck drivers in many ways. Semi-truck drivers provide freight to locations that might not get products any other way, and tow truck drivers remove broken and abandoned vehicles from roads and highways.
Installing safety equipment and technology to create a safer work environment—especially during a breakdown on the highway—gives them and the fleet operators peace of mind. Adding equipment that makes their job safer can improve driver morale and reduce accidents.
TCS Upfitting offers modifications and upgrades to make your trucks and fleet vehicles safer. We have a wide range of equipment that can be custom installed for your needs to increase your vehicles’ productivity, functionality, and safety.
We can add lighting around vehicles to make them more noticeable, push bumpers or tonneau covers that protect the truck and the driver, and many other upfits that improve your vehicles and your truck drivers’ safety in several ways. We are so confident in our upfitting services that we offer a lifetime warranty on our work. Contact us if you would like to learn more about the ways we can upfit your vehicles!