At times, accidents on the road can seem inevitable. When large trucks are involved, the situation can become all the more dangerous. While many Montana drivers do not think twice about the daily work schedules of semi truck drivers, this line of work is not an easy one. Why does this industry create hazards for workers across the nation?
The general size of a semi truck can make it more dangerous alongside smaller vehicles, but ABC News took a step further last year and claimed that the trucking industry was the most deadly occupation. According to the most recent data from the Labor Department, more truck drivers were injured than workers in any other occupation — having reached the unsettling number of 852 fatalities. The American Truckers Association has worked to reduce the number of fatal accidents, which, as ABC notes, have actually declined in the last three years. Despite the recent increase of trucking employment, that number has dropped by 2 percent.
Some argue that the cause of danger in trucking is not the industry, but the age of the drivers themselves. At the time of its 2016 piece, CBS noted a nationwide shortage in truck drivers; the industry lacked roughly 48,000 drivers to move a crucial amount of goods. However, while many Americans begin considering retirement by their sixties and seventies, a large majority of workers in the trucking industry have continued on well into their mid-sixties, with no plans of retiring in the near future. CBS shares that 10 percent of all truck drivers are 65 years of age and older. While this may seem a harmless statistic, it may be creating more danger on the road for other drivers. Through an analysis of crash data, CBS showed a 19 percent increase in crashes among drivers in their 70s, 80s and 90s since 2013. In 12 states, there were over 6,000 accidents involving older drivers from 2013 to 2015. Contrary to what many might assume, CBS stated that many of these accidents were not entirely at the fault of truck drivers themselves, but also of other drivers.