Trucking Industry

Related Safety and Health Info

Unsafe actions of automobile drivers are a contributing factor in a a majority of fatal crashes involving trucks. More public awareness of how to share the road safely with large trucks is needed. Safe speeds save lives. Exceeding the speed limit was a factor in a percentage of fatal crashes. Greater speed enforcement is needed.

The following information is related to safety and health in the trucking industry:

Trucker Illnesses and Injuries

Common Trucker Injuries

  • Strains and sprains (50 percent)
  • Bruises
  • Fractures
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Soreness and pain
  • Multiple traumatic injuries
Events or Exposures Leading
  • Overexertion
  • Contact with object
  • Being struck by an object
  • Falling (on the same level)
  • Transportation accidents
Fatality and Injury
  • Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts. Analysis Division of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). A recurring annual report that contains descriptive statistics about fatal, injury, and property-damage-only crashes involving large trucks and buses.
  • Fatalities and Injuries Among Truck and Taxicab Drivers. Knestaut, A. Compensation and Working Conditions, (Fall 1997). Identifies truck driving (From 1992 to 1995) as having the most fatalities of all occupations, accounting for 12 percent of all worker deaths. About two-thirds of the fatally injured truckers were involved in highway crashes. Truck drivers also had more nonfatal injuries (over 151,000) than workers in any other occupation in 1995. Half of the nonfatal injuries were serious sprains and strains; this may be attributed to the fact that many truck drivers must unload the goods they transport.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Serious Violations Cited 1997-2002

  • Improper guarding of grinding machinery
  • Lack of eyewashes and showers
  • Unsafe forklifts
  • Grounding of electrical equipment
  • Lack of personal protective equipment
  • No guardrails on platforms or loading docks
General Trucking Safety
  • Large Trucks. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Reports that in 2004, 416,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) were involved in traffic crashes in the United States; 4,862 were involved in fatal crashes. A total of 5,190 people died (12% of all the traffic fatalities reported in 2004) and an additional 116,000 were injured in those crashes. In 2003, large trucks accounted for 3 percent of all registered vehicles and 7 percent of total vehicle miles traveled (2004 registered vehicle and vehicle miles traveled data not available). In 2004, large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes and 4 percent of all vehicles involved in injury and property-damage-only crashes. One out of eight traffic fatalities in 2004 resulted from a collision involving a large truck.
  • Commercial Driver's License Program (CDL/CDLIS). Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Identifies the goal of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (which was signed into law on October 27, 1986) as improvement of highway safety by ensuring that drivers of large trucks and buses are qualified to operate those vehicles and to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers from the highways. The Act retained the state's right to issue a driver's license, but established minimum national standards that states must meet when licensing CMV drivers.
  • Work-Related Roadway Crashes: Challenges and Opportunities for Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-119, (September, 2003). Provides a comprehensive overview of crash data, the regulatory environment, and risk factors that contribute to workplace crashes. Identifies the groups of workers at greatest risk of traffic crashes, summarizes key issues that contribute to work-related roadway crashes, and recommends preventive measures for employers and other stakeholders.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The information below provides links to the primary safety sites within the DOT. Truckers are an integral part of the movement of materials between air, land, and sea.


    • Safety. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Develops and implements improved tools and processes to facilitate more effective use of safety data, both inside and outside the agency, to help improve aviation safety.


    • Reducing Highway Fatalities. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Reports nationally, in 2011, 32,885 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States - the lowest number of deaths since 1949 (30,246 fatalities in 1949). In addition, 2010 saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010, compared to 1.13 deaths for 2009. The number of people injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 declined for a 11th straight year in a row, falling an estimated 2.9 percent from 2009.
    • Driving Safety. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Provides information on distracted driving, driver education, and occupant protection among other topics.
    • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Safety Analysis. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Makes available railroad safety information including accidents and incidents, inspections and highway-rail crossing data. Users can run dynamic queries, download a variety of safety database files, publications and forms, and view current statistical information on railroad safety.


    • Marine Safety Center. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Works directly with the marine industry, the Commandant, and Coast Guard field units in the evaluation and approval of commercial vessel and systems designs, development of safety standards and policies, response to maritime casualties and oversight of delegated third parties in support of the Coast Guard's marine safety and environmental protection programs. The U.S. Coast Guard in now part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Stress Factors Experienced by Female Commercial Drivers in the Transportation Industry. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Health & Safety (elcosh). Reports that according to 1998 occupational injury and illness data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), truck drivers, as compared to other occupations, experienced the largest number of injuries and illnesses with time away from work over the latest five years for which data is available (1992-1996). During this time, the number of injuries and illnesses declined for all occupations by about 20 percent, but the number increased by nearly five percent (up to 151,300) for truck drivers, with women accounting for 17.6 percent.
  • A Summary - Improving Safety. U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Summarizes the Driver and Vehicle Safety Programs authorized by TEA-21, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, including the alcohol programs, seat belt and occupant protection programs, state and community grants, state highway safety data Improvement Incentive Grants, Highway Safety Research and Development, National Driver Register, Automobile Safety and Information, and for Railway-Highway Crossings-Operation Lifesaver, Motor Carrier Safety programs, as well as other infrastructure programs.
OSHA Publications
OSHA Slide Presentations and Handouts