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2017 Sees a Sharp Rise in Truck Driver Fatalities, Highest Since 2003

Updated: Jan 16

Fleet of Semi Trucks

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that in 2017, truck driver occupational fatalities rose to their highest levels since tracking began in 2003. With 840 truck drivers losing their lives while on duty in 2017, this alarming figure accounted for 77% of the 1,084 motor vehicle operators killed that year.

To put this in perspective, 2016 witnessed the death of 786 truckers. In the broader category of "transportation and material moving occupations," there was a recorded total of 1,443 fatal injuries in 2017. This was an almost 4% increase from the 1,388 fatalities reported in the previous year.

The BLS's findings are confirmed by figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to the NHTSA, there were 841 occupants of large trucks who lost their lives in accidents in 2017.

Taking a broader view, there were 5,147 workplace fatalities across all professions in the U.S. in 2017. This was marginally lower than the 5,190 fatalities reported in 2016.

Several other professions also reported high fatality rates in 2017:

  • Construction: 965 fatalities.

  • Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations: 414 deaths.

  • Management occupations: 396 deaths.

  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations: 326 deaths.

The rise in fatalities, especially among truck drivers, underscores the importance of workplace safety and the challenges faced by those in high-risk professions. It also calls for rigorous safety measures, training, and policies to ensure the well-being of workers across all sectors.

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