In addition to working horrible hours, receiving insufficient pay and living a compromised lifestyle, truck driving appears to be more dangerous than expected. Truckers are required to operate their vehicle much longer than a traditional eight-hour day and receive very little sleep along the side of the road before heading back out to start the next shift. Working long hours, eating bad food and sleeping in the vehicle are only a few of the reasons many truckers are driving fatigued and distracted.
While recent federal legislation has been enacted to regulate the time truck drivers can remain behind the wheel every day and week, many of these rules are broken or bent by trucking companies to ensure delivery deadlines are met. Truckers are rarely allowed to take more than a single day off from work every week. Additionally, the potential of dying while on the job remains very high with vehicle accident-associated trucker fatalities accounting for one out of every eight work-related deaths nationwide.
It is no doubt that the commercial trucking industry helps drive the American economy. Without commercial transportation, most of us would forgo fresh produce and access to a huge assortment of groceries, goods and products. However,consumer accessibility to nearly every available product, beverage or food comes at a great sacrifice suffered by truck drivers who live a life separate from family and friends.
Truckers face numerous hazards that cause them significant injuries every year including involvement in truck accidents, injuries caused by loading and unloading cargo and repetitive stress health complications.
The strict regulations that govern the trucking industry help to make truckers some of the safest drivers on the road. However, because of the size and weight of most commercial vehicles, any truck involved in an accident usually inflicts significant damage and catastrophic injuries.
Through training and following the rules of the road, truck drivers can minimize the potential of being involved in trucking accidents. This requires remaining attentive and alert while driving and taking steps to avoid distractions that might include:
- Not talking or texting on smart phones
- Avoid using mobile devices while driving
- Eating or drinking only when the vehicle is stopped
- Getting off the road when feeling drowsy, tired or confused
Pulling off the road and turning the engine off is an easy solution for maximizing safety when the trucker’s attention must be diverted away from driving.
Cargo Loading Injuries
Truckers are required to lift or carry heavy objects while loading and unloading their truck or trailer. As a result, many truck drivers suffer serious back injuries especially if they slip/trip or drop heavy objects during the course of their working day.
Most serious injuries can be avoided when the trucker utilizes effective safety gear and appropriate equipment. This includes wearing back braces and protective gear while using assistance from others when lifting heavy objects is required. Working in safe conditions including in clean truck beds and loading docks can help lessen the potential of being involved in a slip and fall accident.
Repetitive Stress Injury
The physical toll of being a full-time truck driver can be life-changing where many truckers suffer repetitive stress injuries and other maladies associated with the job. Many truckers suffer carpal tunnel syndrome, extensive back and neck pain and trauma to the shoulder, legs and feet from operating the vehicle for long hours at a time.
For many truck drivers, maintaining optimal physical health is difficult. Avoiding repetitive stress injuries usually requires taking routine breaks to stretch. Within a short time, truckers can begin to experience persistent soreness that requires medical attention to ensure the issue does not become chronic.
Truck Driver Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers compensation benefits are available for many truckers who suffer from work-associated injuries. Typically, the benefits will provide adequate funds to cover reasonable medical bills and replace lost wages due to time off from work. The workers’ compensation program is built on “no-fault” responsibility, meaning even if the trucker’s own errors or negligence caused their injuries, they are still entitled to receive compensation.
Truckers that have suffered work-related injuries can assert their rights and file a claim to receive benefits through the workers’ compensation program. However, these types of cases are complex and often require a reputable attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases to ensure that the truck driver receives all entitled benefits.