Truck drivers have a reputation for having the grit to drive thousands of miles to haul their load to its destination on time. But even though truckers are tough, when they are injured on the job it can be deadly. Fighting fatigue, avoiding smaller vehicles on the road or dealing with the stress of meeting deadlines can contribute to catastrophic accidents.
What are the causes of injuries to truckers?
It is estimated that 40% of all deadly on-the-job accidents happen in the transportation industry, with tractor-trailer and heavy-truck operators sustaining the most fatal occupational injuries. Some of the most common injuries are from accidents that occur with activities while not driving. The four most common injuries are falls, trips, slips and overexertion, caused by:
- Lifting while loading or unloading the truck
- Pushing and pulling items
- Getting in and out of the vehicle
- Prolonged sitting that results in poor posture while driving
The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) has identified preventable causes of many trucking accidents such as driver distraction, alcohol or drug consumption, driver fatigue and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In 2018, a safety research agenda initiated by NIOSH identified strategies to reduce accident frequency across the transportation industry.
This agenda focused not only on the above issues, but also on developing advanced technologies like collision warning, emergency braking and monitoring systems, as well as implementing fatigue management programs and creating procedures for loading, unloading and working on trucks.
How well are you covered in Texas?
According to the FMCSA, from 2007 to 2017 Texas had by far the greatest number of crash fatalities involving large trucks overall, as well as the greatest number involving large trucks and single and multiple-vehicles.
When a truck driver is injured while driving his rig, moving equipment or loading and unloading heavy items, knowing what his employer will cover and what kind of insurance he has is very important. Worker’s compensation is not mandatory in private sector jobs in Texas, so the rules may be different regarding what types of injury are covered, how much disability and other benefits you will get, and what the caps are on permanent disability or death compensation.