Truck Driving – One of the Deadliest Jobs

Trucks, we share the highways and roadways with them every day as we commute back and forth to work; we get aggravated at them when we’re stuck behind and can’t pass them; they’re indispensable in getting product, food, livestock and pretty much everything we need across the country. The men and women that drive them also have one of the deadliest jobs in America.

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Right now the death rate for truck drivers accounts for around 12% of all work related deaths in America.

The reasons why this job is so deadly are many and are not necessarily what you might think.

1. Long hours means that drivers are often sleep deprived. There are laws that say that truck drivers can only drive for 14 hours straight and must then take at least 10 hours off before they start driving again. There are also laws regulating how much they are allowed to work a week. Unfortunately in a job where the driver is paid by the load, not by the hour, these laws are more often than not circumvented and ignored. Additionally, truck drivers are finding it harder and harder to find safe and convenient places to pull over and sleep for the night.

2. Healthy eating and exercise is hard to come by on the road. Truck drivers sit almost all day and most often stop only to eat at truck stops and fast food restaurants simply because that’s what’s available along their routes. This means that among truck drivers 86% are classified as overweight or obese. Many truck drivers are forced to get other jobs when their diet and lack of exercise leads to becoming insulin dependent diabetics. Laws force insulin dependent diabetics to give up driving trucks.

3. Because they are on the road so much, truck drivers often do not take the time to get checkups and schedule doctor visits. Time off work is time they aren’t getting paid for and scheduling doctor visits often means turning down routes that they need in order to pay the bills. Truck drivers tend to “push through” and ignore health symptoms.

4. Isolation and lack of social interaction also leads to a higher than normal rate of depression among truck drivers. This, in turn, leads to additional health problems.

5. Stress of driving all day adds to the problem. Any truck driver will tell you that cars cutting in front of them without giving them enough space to stop is a continuous issue for them. The larger the truck, the more weight they are carrying, the longer it takes for them to stop. Traffic jams, road construction, detours and other roadway problem can often put truck drivers behind schedule adding to the stress of driving for so many hours.

Next time you’re tempted to get irritated because a semi in front of you isn’t accelerating fast enough or because you can’t get around it fast enough, stop and think about how hard it is to do what that truck driver has it. After all, as one truck driver put it “If you don’t like all these trucks on the road, stop buying stuff!”.



In Case of Emergency Form for Drivers

Do your drivers have an ICE form in their vehicle? ICE, of course, stands for In Case of Emergency and the form in question is a form that outlines any and all important information about the driver; information that emergency personnel might need and which, depending on the emergency, the driver might not be able to provide.

You can download a driver’s ICE form here. Have each driver fill one out and keep it in a prominent place in the vehicle. It just might save their life in case of emergency.


Safety Class Required for Parking Space at High School

Here’s an interesting idea to help cut down on accidents due to reckless driving in high school students. Seems the principal of a high school in Beaufort North Carolina, upset and grieved at the number of accidents among his high school students decided that all teenagers who were driving should have to go through a safe driving class. The problem was getting the students to attend.

He came up with a simple and highly effective plan. If you want a parking permit, you have to sit through the class.

The idea is growing. The class, developed by the National Safety Council entitled Alive at 25 is being taught in more and more high schools across the country. Most dont require the class in exchange for the parking permit but that idea is catching on as well.

Fact is that High School students are one of the most at risk groups when it comes to road fatalities. Anything and everything that can be done to make sure the message is getting through is a step in the right direction.

The videos shown in the class are extremely graphic and shocking and even the most blaze of students doesnt not walk away unaffected by them.

For more information on the Alive at 25 program, visit http://aliveat25.us/


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

I have about an hour commute to work and an hour commute home each day (4 days a week) and I can honestly say that I probably see at least a dozen driver talking on their cell phone while driving each way. It’s become a game to me to spot the drivers by the way they are driving and I’m rarely wrong.
In spite of the fact that it is now illegal to drive with a cell phone plastered to your ear, the police is apparently turning a bling eye because there are still hundreds of people out there doing it.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the National Safety Council (NSC) wants drivers all across American to “ditch the cell phone while driving”.

Find out more about what you can do or what your company can do to reduce distracted driving on the NSC website page dedicated to it.
You’ll find a pledge to sign, posters you can download, a video and opportunities to share the message with social media.


Are you an Aggressive Driver?

One of the books in my library at home is a book by the Harbinger Institute entitled “Leadership and Self-Deception”. It is obviously directed primarily to leaders but the premise of the book is that every one of us have certain issues and weaknesses that everyone around us can see clearly but which we ourselves are blind to. As I type this I’m reminded of my grandfather (who was British). My grandmother, in the passenger seat used to watch him get more and more irritated at other drivers on the road. Finally she would turn to him and tell him “Don’t get angry!” He would them get all red in the face and yell back “I’M NOT ANGRY!!!!”

That’s self-deception and it’s the topic of a quiz put out by AAA on their website. The quiz is entitled “Are YOU an Aggressive Driver?” and it contains 40 multiple choice questions in four different categories (10 in each). The categories include Anger, Impatience, Competing and Punishing.

Take the test and be honest about it. Self-deception is not only ugly but when it comes to being an aggressive driver it can harm you, others in the car and others on the road.