This fact won’t come as much of a surprise to people with CDL trucking jobs. But, the data is out and it shows that truck driver remains one of the deadliest occupations in the country. 745 drivers died in 2015. Trucks.com wrote about the report put out by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Work-related fatalities for trucking jobs dropped slightly in 2015 from 2014, when 761 drivers died on the nation’s streets. Despite the drop, trucking transportation occupations accounted for slightly more than a quarter of all work-related fatalities last year.
What’s more, the Trucks.com article says, CDL trucking job fatalities rise.
Over the past five years, truck driver fatalities rose 11.2 percent. Increased reliance on trucking to transport goods. This includes demand for rapid delivery created by the rise of online shopping, putting more truck drivers on the road. This contributed to higher incident rates for accidents and driver deaths, according to trucking industry experts.
Unlike many occupations, drivers don’t have total control of their work environment – public roads and highways – so there’s always danger, said Steve Viscelli, an economics sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream.”
But because of the way drivers’ compensation is structured, they’re often asked to choose between productivity and safety, a tug of war that leads some to keep driving when they should be taking a rest break, Viscelli said.
Long hours, low pay and tough working conditions also play into annual turnover that “hovers around 100 percent and puts inexperienced drivers on the road,” the article states.
Michael Belzer, a transportation economist and associate professor at Wayne State University, said he blames carriers for creating pay issues that lead to chronic turnover and driver shortages. And the lack of National Highway Transportation Safety Administration standards for crashworthiness of heavy-duty trucks plays a role in fatality rates, said Norita Taylor, director of marketing and public relations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, in the Trucks.com article.
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