Why is Truck Driving a Dangerous job?
Truck Driving or trucking is the transportation or conveyance of goods by truck.
Trucking like any other jobs though also has risks or dangers. Truck driving is dangerous because it accounts for one of every four fatal accidents. This is due to various reasons including over fatigue that can lead to drivers falling asleep.
Truck driving is also a dangerous job due to the illnesses/ health conditions the drivers can have. This includes the following:
This is a disease that occurs when one’s blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high. The blood glucose is the body’s main source of energy. This comes from the food one eats. In order for the glucose to get into the cells for energy, insulin is needed. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas.
Diabetes Mellitus develops when the body doesn’t produce any or enough insulin. This can also develop if the body is not using the insulin well. When this happens, the glucose doesn’t reach the cells and remains in the blood.
14 % of truck drivers have Diabetes Mellitus due to the food they eat. Many of which consume more glucose containing foods to boost their energy while on the road.
This is also called hypertension. High blood pressure is when there is a rise of blood pressure and it stays high for a long time. Hypertension can be caused by eating foods high in cholesterol and also lack of sleep.
Hypertension can lead to heart damage and stroke. In a report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 % of truck drivers are found to have hypertension.
Smoking related diseases
Many truck drivers smoke to keep themselves busy and awake while driving. Smoking is higher among truckers. This is because it helps fight fatigue. Smoking can increase the drivers’ risk of:
Coronary Heart disease
This includes bladder, cervix, kidney, larynx, lung, pancreas, stomach colon and rectal cancer.
One is said to be obese when they have a weight is more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. About 38% of truck drivers are obese and 40% are overweight. This is because of the fact that they lack physical exercise and they sit for many hours.
This is a Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). Trucker’s leg is caused by blockage in blood vessels around the body. This results to lack of sensitivity in the affected areas, sores on your leg and muscle pains.
Trucker’s leg and other musculoskeletal issues can also be caused by different factors. This includes weight issues and other health problems such as high cholesterol. These issues in the musculoskeletal system can also worsen by the driver’s sitting position while driving. If the driver is too close to the pedals, this reduces blood flow to the lower legs and feet. This is because the driver’s knees are particularly bent.
These psychological issues can also happen. Truck drivers spend a lot of time away from their families and often times they are alone on the road. This can cause loneliness and if not dealt with properly, it can lead to anxiety or depression.
There are other reasons why trucking is dangerous. Aside from health conditions that drivers can develop on the road, being pressured by employers is also a cause of injuries or road crash.
Some employers or trucking companies push their drivers to drive at faster speeds and for longer hours. Some drivers are even pressured by their employers to break safety rules and regulations. This includes letting truckers drive even when they are fatigued.
At times when there is a shortage of drivers, even the inexperienced drivers are sent on the road. This is dangerous as these drivers don’t have enough experience to handle deliveries on difficult places and weather conditions.
Truckers handling commercial trucks are mostly the ones who are involved in accidents. This is because it is harder for them to avoid an accident once a mistake was done. This is due to the combination of the commercial truck’s heavy weight; the driver’s limited handling abilities and long braking distances.
It is worst if the trailer or the tanker involved in the accident contains combustible or hazardous materials. In this situation, there’s an increased risk of fire, chemical exposure or explosion. When this happens, it often leads to fatal injuries or catastrophe to the truckers.
Weather related issues like storms
Poor road conditions
Aggressive or reckless driving
Dangerous or defective truck parts
Improper truck maintenance
Drugged or drunk driving
Exhaustion or being burned out
There are also non-fatal injuries that truck drivers’ experience. Even though it isn’t fatal, it can still cause harm to the truckers. The majority of non-fatal injuries truckers incur involves the back.
Back injuries are possible consequence of periods of long sitting followed by heavy lifting. These types of injuries are more common to truckers who unload their own trucks.
A large number of other non-fatal injuries are from warehousing situations. This often involves a trucker falling and injuring themselves. Another one is when the trucker gets hit by a piece of heavy equipment.
There are many reasons why truck driving is dangerous. One of the most common causes is fatigue. When a driver suffering from fatigue drives for long hours, it can cause a road accident. Fatigued drivers who unload their trucks in an unfamiliar setting can also cause non-fatal injuries.
Stress and the drive to earn a living also make trucking a dangerous job. This is because the pay is per hour or per mile. The driver who wants to earn more will drive even when they are exhausted or burned out.
Truck driving is a tough and dangerous job but can be dealt with if the working conditions and safety regulations were improved. This would reduce the amount of time miss due to injuries. This will also help the trucker’s job turnover.
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