In The News

Truck Driver Was Nation’s Most Fatal Occupation in 2015

By David Elfin, staff reporter - Transport Topics
Posted Jan 5th 2017 3:15PM

A Bureau of Labor Statistics study revealed that 745 truck drivers died on the job in the United States in 2015, the most of any profession. BLS defines a truck driver as someone who operates a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds and has a commercial driver license. The 745 truck drivers who died was down from 761 in 2014.

"The safety of our drivers, and of all motorists, is of paramount importance to the trucking industry," said Sean McNally, spokesman for American Trucking Associations. "That's why as an industry we invest more than $9.2 billion in safety technology and training annually. And that investment is having an impact: since 1980, the number of fatal truck-involved crashes has fallen 32%, while the crash rate per 100 million miles has dropped an astounding 74%. Over that time, trucks have a crash rate that is 28% lower than all vehicles on the road."

According to BLS, the number of fatal work injuries involving transportation incidents increased in 2015. Roadway incidents rose 9% to 1,264 and accounted for 26% of all fatal work injuries. Almost half of these fatalities (629) involved a semi, tractor-trailer or tanker truck. Of the 253 non-roadway fatalities, the most frequent vehicle involved was a farm tractor (73).

The nation's 4,836 fatal workplace injuries in 2015 were the most since 5,214 in 2008, but the overall rate of fatal work injury, 3.38 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, was lower than 2014's rate of 3.43. Nearly half the states, 21, reported higher numbers in 2015 than in 2014 while 29 states and the District of Columbia reported fewer. Six states — Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Maine, Virginia and West Virginia — reported record-low numbers.

"ATA is committed to making our roads safer by focusing on the root causes of crashes: aggressive driving, speeding, impaired and distracted driving," McNally said. "As our roads become busier, it is incumbent on all drivers to do their part to improve safety. One of the primary risks to truck driver safety, unfortunately, is the behavior of other drivers. Numerous studies ... highlight the fact that roughly two-thirds of all fatal truck crashes are caused by a vehicle other than the truck. The best way we can make our workplace — the open road — safer is to make driving safer for everyone, and the best way we can do that is through education like ATA's Share the Road Program and enforcement of traffic laws aimed at reducing dangerous behaviors."

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