Trucking: One of the Top Ten On-the-Job Killers in America

Truck Mechanic Working on Maintance

The trucking industry lost hundreds of truck drivers to fatal accidents in 2009, during the safest year in the American workplace according to Even during the safest year for occupational danger in history, some jobs, including trucking, were still extremely hazardous. For many Americans, the perils of work are limited to paper cuts and water cooler gossip, but for truck drivers, there is a daily chance of accidents that could prove lethal.

Truckers and Drivers/Sales Workers were ninth on the list of most dangerous jobs, with a fatality rate of 18.3 deaths per 100,000 drivers in 2009. Although truck drivers had a lower percentage of deaths than eight of the other jobs, more truckers die on the job than any other occupation due to the sheer capacity of the industry.

The United States trucking industry employs over 3.5 million drivers. That means approximately one percent of all Americans are occupational truck drivers. With one percent of the total population of the country involved in one profession, every government and private safety regulation possible should be in place to protect those employees.

They are not. Currently, in the United States, there are many factors in the trucking industry that make the roads unsafe for both truckers and other drivers.

Truckers are paid by the mile or by the load. This encourages truckers to drive at fast speeds with few breaks in order to increase the productivity (and pay) for their day.

Hours of service (HOS) laws state that truckers are only allowed to drive 11 out of 14 hours in a day and that driving period must be followed by 10 hours of rest. This means that while driving, a truck driver wants to travel as far as possible before he/she is forced to rest. Truckers are not paid for the required rest time.

Often the only accountability for the hours a trucker drives is a hand-written logbook filled out by the driver. Some drivers will keep duplicate logbooks – one to show police officers to avoid the repercussions of being over legal driving hours and one to show managers for compensation purposes. With mileage-based compensation, not all drivers can avoid the temptation of misusing a logbook.

Unfortunately for truckers and other drivers on the roads, these and many other factors present a safety issue. Until government regulation puts restrictions on the massive trucking industry, truckers will most likely remain on the list of top ten most dangerous jobs.


  1. Fishermen have a fatality rate of 200 per 100,000. This is the most perilous job in the United States. Heavy machinery, hazardous weather, and long hours can prove fatal, with storms potentially wiping out an entire crew.
  2. Loggers: the fatality rate drops significantly for the second most dangerous job to 61.8 out of 100,000. The greatest risk is on steep terrain where felled trees and rocks can crash down the mountainside, claiming lives as they go.
  3. Airplane Pilots are especially likely to be involved in fatal crashes in Alaska. The rate of death for the entire United States is 57.1 per 100,000.
  4. Farmers and Ranchers face a fatality rate of 35.8 per 100,000 for accidents most commonly involving being pinned in overturned tractors, truck collisions, and animal incidents.
  5. Roofers are right behind farmers and ranchers with 34.7 deaths per 100,000. It’s not only the risk of falling that makes roofing so hazardous. Hot tar can also be a peril. OSHA safety courses and safety equipment have helped alleviate problems.
  6. Ironworkers who build skyscrapers and bridges have a fatality rate of 30.3 out of 100,000. Safety has improved since the first huge buildings in major U.S. cities were built, but regulations have a long way to go.
  7. Sanitation workers have a 25.2 out of 100,000 risk of death, especially during the summer time in warm places. Newer threats involve the bi-products of portable meth labs, which can be lethal to sanitation workers.
  8. Industrial Machinist: Since the industrial revolution in the U.S., equipment safety and more comprehensive training have made the workplace safer for machinists, but there is still an 18.5 per 100,000 fatality rate.
  9. Truckers and Drivers/Sales Workers: 18.3 truck drivers die for every 100,000 employed. While this is not the highest percentage on the list, the trucking industry employs more people than any other job in the top ten. Thus, more truck drivers die each year in job-related incidents than any other occupation.
  10. Construction Laborers are tied with truckers for the ninth most dangerous job in the U.S. Dangers for workers are varied including large, dangerous machinery, heavy materials, and work that continues through perilous weather conditions.

If you want to learn more about Trucking here are further references.

  • Local/Regional Driving Jobs – Offering trucking jobs, recruiter services, streaming video, and a community for truck drivers.
  • Truck Driving Jobs at Trucking Companies – Class A lists truck driving jobs with the best trucking companies Nationwide. Find a better trucking job today.
  • – Top Paying Truck Driver Jobs
  • Truck Driving Jobs – Truck driver jobs for cdl truck drivers and owner operators nationwide. Apply for Truck driving jobs and owner operator trucking jobs with TruckersResource.
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