Catastrophic Injuries: Trucking Industry is among the Top 5 Most Catastrophic Occupations

Paradigm − May 8, 2013 − filed under Amputation

Catastrophic injuries are so common in the trucking industry that we rank truck driving as one of the Top 5 Most Catastrophic Occupations. Fatigue, long hours, highway conditions and difficult to maneuver vehicles combine to make truck drivers one of the most likely demographics to suffer catastrophic injury during their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the five most dangerous occupations as measured by missed work because of injury are mining, transportation, utility work, construction, and manufacturing.

Accidents and Catastrophic Injuries in Trucking

Trucking, part of the transportation industry, is second on that list. About 500,000 trucking accidents happen annually in the United States, according to Legal Info. Sixty-eight percent of trucking-related fatalities happen in rural areas, not in cities. Fatigue and long hours on the road are considered risk factors in trucking, according to a 1992 article in the Journal of Public Health Policy.

In the 1992 study, over one thousand long haul tractor-trailer drivers were interviewed by a research team over four months, and almost three-quarters of the respondents said they self-reported violations of Hours-of-Service rules. Two-thirds said they “routinely” drive more than legal weekly maximums. Those long hours in the driver’s seat lead to decreased attentiveness and heightened rates of fatigue, creating prime conditions for unwanted accidents and catastrophic injuries.

Of the five occupations with the most catastrophic injuries, transportation has the highest rates of multiple trauma, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injuries. Among truckers, common co-morbidities like obesity, sleep apnea, smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure can make treatment options and outcomes more difficult to manage.

Trucking Safety

The American Trucking Association reported an 84 percent increase in miles traveled by large trucks, as well as a 41 percent increase in the number of registered large trucks, between 1986 and 2006. Over the same time span, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes declined by 5 percent, according to the same source. Legal changes and industry self-regulation may be contributing to increased safety ratings among truckers. Still, the nature of truck driving—long hours in a large, heavy vehicle carrying variable cargo—makes trucking a particularly hazardous occupation.

Catastrophic injuries are life altering and employees in these catastrophic occupations are at increased risk for major disruptions to income and well-being. When accidents happen, protect your employees and your bottom line with proven care management services from Paradigm.

Paradigm Outcomes is always ready to assist with complex medical cases. For more information on our full-service offerings or to find out more about catastrophic care management, please contact us through our website or call (888) 621-6602. We also invite you to join our social communities on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

  • CST Financial said,

    Yes! Being a driver in this industry can be the most dangerous job to have. That is why we have to implement the necessary safety rules and precautions for them. It is not just their lives that is being endangered as they take the wheels. The lives of those people they will meet along the way is also something that we all have to keep in mind.

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