Many Iowa workers would consider driving a semi-tractor trailer to be a fairly safe way to earn a living, but truck driving is actually the seventh most dangerous job in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2019, 26.8 out of every 100,000 truck drivers lost their lives in an on-the-job accident.
That figure was 3.5 per 100,000 for all American workers. Being killed is not the only thing truck drivers have to worry about because they are also more likely to file workers’ comp claims after suffering suffer work-related injuries.
Fatal traffic accidents
Most of the truck drivers killed each year lose their lives in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Experts hope to see this figure drop in the years ahead as autonomous safety features like automatic emergency braking systems and forward collision and lane departure alerts become more common. Stricter drug and alcohol testing could also lower the truck driver fatality rate. According to a study from the University of Central Arkansas, about 300,000 truck drivers would be taken off the road if trucking companies conducted toxicology tests using hair follicles instead of urine.
Overexertion and slips, trips and falls
Fewer than 1,000 truck drivers are killed each year, but tens of thousands suffer serious injuries. The overall injury rate in the logistics sector is more than seven times higher than the national average for all occupations, and the rate of injuries that cause three or more days of missed work is three times the national average. Most of these injuries are caused by overexertion, slips and falls or contact with an object or a piece of equipment.
Workers’ compensation claims
Truck drivers who are injured while on the job are usually entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but the claims process can be confusing for those unaccustomed to government bureaucracy. Attorneys with experience in this area may assist injured or sick truck drivers with workers’ compensation paperwork and help them to gather medical evidence to support their claims.