So much of what I write about trucks talks about their affect on us in cars. Trucks plowing into the back of slowed traffic. Trucks representing such a high percentage of crashes in construction zones. Fatigued truck drivers. Distracted truck drivers.
But did you know that driving a commercial truck is the most deadly job in the United States? The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks it as #1 on the list of dangerous jobs in 2018.
In fact, in 2018, 831 truck drivers died on the job. Many of these were truck on truck crashes, or individual trucks going off the road for a variety of reasons. But there were plenty of truck/car crashes too.
In 2018 almost 5,000 people died in truck related crashes. The numbers have been trending up since 2009. The stresses of driving a truck intersecting with the stresses of driving a car never end well for those in the car. And the guilt and grief most truck drivers experience when there’s a crash, particularly a fatal crash, can be overwhelming.
Recently I found a few articles about trucker suicide. The drivers are caught in the middle, between the shippers that want their goods moved quickly, the trucking company that wants the goods shipped profitably, the loading docks that are overbooked, road construction everywhere, and people driving cars much too close — not leaving enough space for trucks to maneuver safely. And to top it off they are paid by the mile. Every delay costs them money.
It’s hard to make a living on the road.
For those of us working on safety issues 2019 was a busy but frustrating year. We pushed four bills, each addressing a different issue, the objective of each to make our roads safer for everyone – truck drivers included. It was hard to feel like we made much progress, politics being what it is today, but we were out there sharing ideas and pushing safety and people on the hill and out in our communities listened. That’s a beginning.
But we all know that every moment we are out there pushing for safety more people, people in cars and people in trucks, are dying. Every delay in our work costs someone his or her life. On average 13 people a day are dying in truck crashes.
Next year, 2020, we’ll be working hard again. If you’re still thinking about donating to our cause, here’s the link. We’d appreciate it. Our work is so important and we can’t do it without your help.
And if you know a truck driver, give them a hug and ask them to stay safe. Spread the word among your family and friends during this holiday season about driving safely around trucks. Remind everyone that safety advocates are working to make the roads safer for everyone, truck drivers included.
Because they want, and deserve, to go home to their families too.
Dedicated to my dad, killed by a tired trucker Dec 23, 2004.
December 20, 2019 at 6:23 pm
Dawn, as a former truck driver and wife of a truck driver for 13 years, I appreciate your efforts! With over a million miles on the road in those trucking years your words ring true with me! We all want and need the goods trucks deliver! Keep up the good work remembering that trucks and their drivers are not the enemy, let’s keep making everyone safer!
December 22, 2019 at 7:27 am
Laurie, I didn’t know you used to drive a truck! Thank you for your support.
December 20, 2019 at 9:56 pm
Dawn, I just saw a news report about the truckers and the stress of their work. It was about driverless trucks! I can’t imagine how that will all work out. So sorry to read about your Dad.
December 22, 2019 at 7:28 am
We are watching the evolution of driverless trucks (and cars). We will fight to make those safe as well. Regardless of how people feel, they are coming.
LikeLiked by 1 person
December 22, 2019 at 8:43 pm
Thanks, Dawn. Have a happy and safe holiday season.
December 20, 2019 at 10:34 pm
Any time I’m on any freeway, I’m always watching out for the truckers and the motorbikers. It’s so scary to see how many car drivers just don’t have a clue that THEIR driving is endangering other people’s lives. Statistically, an accident might have been called the truck driver’s fault, but I’ve seen so many car drivers cut so close in front of a semi, causing the semi driver to have to swerve in order not to hit that car … whose fault is that? Or tailgate a semi truck? Why?! Or swerve in front of a semi and then slam on your brakes because the lane was ending and you just didn’t want to get behind the semi so you barged in front. Or you’re going 55 in a 60 zone and you are in the middle lane and holding up 14 semi trucks behind you … so the truck in front gets closer to your rear bumper to try to get you to move over …. MOVE OVER! I know there are lots of issues … let’s give these women and men a break and make their lives (and ours) a lot safer. Thanks Dawn.
December 22, 2019 at 7:28 am
I think that everyone, no matter what they are driving, needs to be more conscious of the fact they are driving and everyone needs to pay more attention.
December 21, 2019 at 10:42 pm
Such a good message and something most people don’t think about. Thanks for the post!
December 22, 2019 at 7:29 am
During the upcoming holiday there will be even more people on the road. Everyone needs to pay attention and stay safe!