The current state of our economy causes many to lie awake at night and worry about the security of their jobs. That said, the long haul trucking industry is one area in which the future seems bright. Simply put, in demand goods will always need to be transported from point A to B. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a whopping 21 percent job growth within the trucking industry throughout the next three years. According to rough calculations, this means more than 330,000 new trucking jobs will be added to the current economy by the year 2020.
With these types of statistics, it is easy to see why many job seekers would flock to the trucking industry—but there are many things to consider, as trucking is far more dangerous than you may realize.
The dangers of being a truck driver:
Let’s start with the long hours. The majority of truck drivers are expected to be on the road up to fourteen hours each day, and truckers typically receive only about ten hours off in between long haul shifts. Sure, laws that regulate a trucker’s time on the road do exist, but they are all too commonly broken. Unsparingly, exhausted individuals paired with long haul trips often equals danger. Sadly, the chance of perishing while on the job is significantly higher in this profession than in others. Auto accidents involving truckers account for 12 percent of work-related deaths in the U.S.
Time off and burnout is also exceptionally high in this profession, as truckers seldom get more than a single day off each week. This schedule often means missed time with family and loved ones, especially around the holiday season when shipping demands increase.
If you think the average trucker’s pay would make up for these sobering statistics you’d be wrong. The average trucker typically earns about $38,000 per year. That doesn’t sound too bad until you break it down a bit further—an excess of 4400 hours each calendar year, equals an hourly wage of about $8.70 per hour.
Poor nutrition is another danger of the road. Truckers very rarely eat three square meals each day, as most of us are accustomed to. Most drivers tend to survive on high calorie, packaged meals during driving hours. These types of foods are usually nutrient diffident and contain very high levels of preservatives, which can wreak havoc on the human body. Often when drivers arrive at their destination for the night, they will treat themselves to a large—and often times unhealthy—meal before heading to bed. It goes without saying this cycle of binge eating, without a regular exercise regime, can quickly lead to obesity, which only exacerbates any existing health problems.
This organically lends itself to another health issue many truckers experience: infrequent medical care. The long hours on the road often make it impossible for drivers to maintain regular checkups from their family doctors. Unsurprisingly, this greatly limits health care options when and if there is a problem, which leads many truckers to ignore symptoms or work through a common illness, such a cold or the flu, rather than taking time off to rest when they become ill.
Additionally, depression is rather common among the truck driver community due to the time spent alone, distance from family and general loneliness.
Additionally, planning ahead for important dates, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc., is a bit of a minefield for a long haul truckers. Unfortunately, scheduling often comes down to dispatchers, loads, and traffic conditions, so even if a driver has done his or her best to make it back on time, they will often miss important dates and events due to circumstances beyond their control.