Driving a truck or delivery vehicle is America’s deadliest job, new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show – and those numbers are on the rise.
In 2016, just under 1,000 truck or delivery drivers lost their lives on the job, 918 to be exact. When you consider that there were 5,190 fatal work accidents across all occupations (a number up 7% from the previous year), it means that vehicle drivers made up almost 18% of workplace deaths. The fact that this is the nation’s most dangerous profession won’t surprise many people, but just how large the percentages are is certainly eye opening.
Ironically, the rise in roadway deaths actually came after a three year period where truck accidents per million miles declined each year.
The next deadliest occupation was agricultural manager, which saw 260 deaths on the year. The logging industry actually had a higher rate of fatal injuries, but fewer overall deaths because of the smaller employee base.
Even for employees who don’t drive as their primary duty, the roadways were still dangerous, as work injuries involving transportation incidents was by far the most common fatal event, making up 40% of deaths alone.
80% of tractor trailer driver deaths were directly related to “roadway incidents” and accidents, while agricultural and construction jobs had more incidents of falls or exposure to chemicals.
In short, the roads can be a dangerous place. More people are shopping online, meaning more delivery drivers are on the road, and they’re logging more hours than ever before.
As self-driving technology takes over, you can expect those numbers to decline as nearly 90% of all traffic related deaths are caused by human error. You can also expect those numbers to be affected by legislation like that in Washington state, which is coming down hard on distracted driving, and legislation in California, which is coming down on stoned drivers.