New CDC Report: Crashes are the Leading Cause of On-the-Job Death for Truck Drivers in the US

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Many truck drivers do not use a seat belt on every trip

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"In 2012 more than 1 in 3 truck drivers who died in crashes were not buckled up, a simple step which could have prevented up to 40 percent of these deaths " said CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D.

Our nation depends on truck drivers to deliver goods and services safely and efficiently. Yet, crashes involving large trucks continue to take a toll on truck drivers, their passengers, other road users, business, and the community. Overall, 317,000 motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks were reported to police in 2012, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The estimated cost of truck and bus crashes to the United States economy was $99 billion that same year.

"We know that using a seat belt is the single most effective intervention to prevent injury or death in a motor vehicle crash. However, in 2012 more than 1 in 3 truck drivers who died in crashes were not buckled up, a simple step which could have prevented up to 40 percent of these deaths " said CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D. “Employers and government agencies at all levels can help improve truck driver safety and increase seat belt use among truck drivers by having strong company safety programs and enforcing state and federal laws."

This Vital Signs report includes data from the National Survey of US Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury, conducted by CDC at 32 truck stops along interstate highways across the United States in 2010. Key findings from the survey include:

  •     An estimated 14 percent of long-haul truck drivers reported not using a seat belt on every trip.
  •     Over one-third of long-haul truck drivers had been involved in one or more serious crashes during their driving careers.
  •     Long-haul truck drivers who reported not wearing seat belts also tended to engage in other unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding and committing moving violations. They were also more likely to work for an employer that did not have a written workplace safety program.
  •     Long-haul truck drivers who lived in a state with a primary seat belt law – the law that allows police to stop motorists solely for being unbelted – were more likely to report often using a seat belt.

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, and food safety.

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