Protecting Our Drivers: Understanding and Preventing Common Injuries for Truck Drivers

Learn some of the common injuries for truck drivers.

The life of a truck driver is fraught with potential hazards, not least of which arise from the very nature of the job. Long hours on the road increase the risk of accidents, leading to a variety of common injuries for truck drivers. Understanding when to seek legal support is crucial for ensuring your rights are protected and justice is served.


Understanding and preventing common injuries for truck drivers is critical not only for the well-being of these individuals but also for maintaining the efficiency and safety of our transportation networks. In this blog, we’ll delve into the prevalent injuries that afflict truck drivers, explore their underlying causes, and discuss proactive measures to mitigate these risks, ensuring a healthier and safer work environment for those who traverse the highways day in and day out.

Common Causes of Truck Driver Accidents:

Truck driver accidents often stem from a complex interplay of factors that challenge even the most experienced drivers. These incidents frequently occur under conditions where multiple contributory elements converge, including but not limited to, environmental conditions, vehicle performance issues, and human factors. Common injuries for truck drivers are typically caused by these incidents:


  1. Driver fatigue: Truck drivers often exceed legal driving time limits, leading to fatigue and increased risk of accidents.134
  2. Speeding: Truck drivers speeding, especially on roads with high-speed limits, makes it difficult to react and stop in time, leading to crashes.135
  3. Improperly loaded cargo: Cargo that is not properly secured or balanced can shift during driving, causing the truck to become unstable and increasing the risk of rollovers or other accidents.134
  4. Equipment failure: Issues with the truck’s systems, such as brakes, tires, or steering, can lead to loss of control and crashes.134
  5. Aggressive/distracted driving: Behaviors like tailgating, lane changes without signaling, and using phones while driving create hazardous conditions around trucks.125
  6. Poor weather conditions: Rain, snow, ice, and fog reduce visibility and traction, making it harder for truck drivers to control their vehicles safely.23
  7. Inexperienced drivers: Newly hired truck drivers who lack proper training and experience are more prone to making mistakes that lead to accidents.35
  8. Failure to obey traffic laws: Truck drivers running red lights, failing to yield, or speeding in construction zones are common causes of crashes.1
  9. Driving under the influence: Impaired judgment and reaction time from alcohol or drug use significantly increases the risk of truck accidents.13


Types of Common Injuries for Truck Drivers

Common injuries for truck drivers range from minor cuts and bruises to more severe conditions such as chronic back pain, fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. The repetitive nature of driving, coupled with prolonged sitting, contributes to musculoskeletal problems, while the risk of accidents can lead to more acute injuries. In fact, research indicates that truck drivers are at a significantly higher risk of suffering injuries on the job compared to many other professions.


  • Strains and sprains: Truck drivers are prone to strains and sprains, especially in the back and neck, due to the sedentary nature of their work, lifting heavy loads, and poor diet choices that can lead to loss of muscle tone.12
  • Repetitive stress injuries: Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and tennis elbow are common among truck drivers from having to keep their hands and arms in the same position for long periods and exposure to vehicle vibrations.12
  • Slips and falls: Truck drivers face hazards climbing in and out of their trucks, especially in bad weather, as well as slipping and falling while loading or unloading cargo.124
  • Vehicle accidents: Truck drivers are at high risk of being involved in accidents, either single-vehicle or multi-vehicle, due to factors like speeding, distraction/inattention, and fatigue.134
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: Issues like neck, back, and upper extremity pain can arise from the physical demands of loading/unloading, using equipment like dollies and loaders, and working on the vehicle tires.4
  • Falls from elevations: Truck drivers can be injured from falls when making deliveries on upper floors, exiting the truck, or stepping into holes at loading/unloading areas.4
  • In summary, the most common injuries for truck drivers in the U.S. are related to the physical demands of the job, the sedentary nature of driving, and the risks of operating large commercial vehicles.12345


How to Protect Our Truck Drivers:

Protecting our truck drivers is a shared responsibility that requires a collective effort from all road users, regulatory bodies, and trucking companies. It’s about fostering a culture of safety that encompasses respect for traffic laws, awareness of the unique challenges truck drivers face, and the adoption of best practices in vehicle maintenance and driving habits.

Tips for For Truck Drivers:

  • Regular Training: Continuous education on safe driving practices, understanding the latest in vehicle safety technology, and adapting to new regulations are crucial. Regular training sessions can help drivers refresh their knowledge and skills, focusing on defensive driving techniques and proper vehicle maintenance.
  • Health and Wellness: Truck drivers should be encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet, exercise, and enough rest. Conditions like sleep apnea, if untreated, can significantly impair a driver’s reaction time and focus, leading to accidents.
  • Use of Safety Technology: Modern trucks are equipped with advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems, and electronic stability control. Drivers should be trained on how to effectively use these technologies to prevent accidents.
  • Secure Cargo: Improperly loaded or secured cargo can lead to accidents by shifting weight or falling off the truck. Ensuring cargo is properly secured is a fundamental safety step for every trip.

Tips For Other Road Users:

When exploring what percentage of truck accidents are caused by cars, data reveals a surprising trend: a significant portion of truck-related accidents are, indeed, initiated by passenger vehicles. Factors such as reckless driving, inadequate understanding of truck dynamics, and poor visibility often contribute to these incidents. Practice these driving safety tips so you don’t become part of the statistics:


  • Understanding Truck Limitations: Educating the driving public about the limitations of trucks, including their larger blind spots (often referred to as “No Zones”), longer stopping distances, and wider turns, can significantly reduce accidents. Awareness campaigns can highlight these issues, teaching drivers how to safely share the road with larger vehicles.
  • Avoiding Distractions: Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents involving both passenger and commercial vehicles. All drivers should avoid using mobile phones, eating, or any other activities that take their attention away from the road.
  • Maintaining Safe Distances: Given the longer stopping distances required for trucks, it’s crucial for other vehicles to maintain a safe following distance. This provides both the truck driver and the motorist with more time to react to unexpected situations.
  • Passing Safely: When passing a truck, drivers should ensure they have ample space to do so safely and avoid lingering in blind spots. Always pass on the left where the truck driver’s visibility is better, and make sure the truck is visible in the rearview mirror before merging back in front.


Shared Responsibilities:

  • Communication: Both truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers should use turn signals well in advance of making a turn or changing lanes to give other road users ample warning of their intentions.
  • Patience: Traffic congestion, road construction, and other delays can test patience. All drivers need to remain calm and courteous on the road, recognizing that aggressive driving behaviors benefit no one and increase the risk of accidents.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Both truck drivers and other motorists should be prepared for emergencies by knowing basic roadside safety practices, such as the use of hazard lights, the safe placement of warning triangles, and when to call for assistance.


By addressing these areas, both truck drivers and other road users can contribute to a safer driving environment, reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring the well-being of all those sharing the road.


The Role of Other Vehicles in Truck Accidents

When exploring what percentage of truck accidents are caused by cars, data reveals a surprising trend: a significant portion of truck-related accidents are, indeed, initiated by passenger vehicles. Factors such as reckless driving, inadequate understanding of truck dynamics, and poor visibility often contribute to these incidents. This insight is pivotal in tailoring preventive measures to enhance the safety of truck drivers on the roads.


Strategies to Protect Truck Drivers

Protecting truck drivers from accidents caused by other vehicles involves a multi-faceted approach, focusing on education, technology, and policy changes. Here are several strategies to consider:

  • Education and Awareness: Increasing awareness among car drivers about the unique challenges and limitations of trucks can lead to more respectful and cautious driving behavior. Educational campaigns that highlight the importance of giving trucks ample space, avoiding blind spots, and the longer stopping distances required by heavy vehicles are essential.
  • Advanced Safety Technology: Incorporating advanced safety technologies in trucks, such as automatic braking systems, stability control, and lane departure warnings, can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Moreover, equipping trucks with dash cams can provide valuable insights in the event of an incident.
  • Policy and Regulation: Implementing stricter regulations regarding driving hours for truck drivers can help reduce fatigue-related accidents. Additionally, policies that mandate regular maintenance checks and safety inspections for both trucks and passenger vehicles can ensure that all vehicles on the road meet safety standards.


What Percentage of Truck Accidents are Caused by Cars?

According to research and sources below, the percentage of truck accidents caused by cars is estimated to be around 80-85%.


The key points are:

  • The American Truck Association (ATA) estimates that about 80% of truck accidents can be linked more to driver mistakes in passenger cars, rather than the truck driver.5
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the percentage of truck accidents caused by cars is even higher, at around 81%.4
  • Rounding the estimates from the different sources, it is likely safe to say that approximately 85% of all truck accidents in the United States are primarily caused by negligent or unsafe driving by passenger vehicle drivers, not the truck drivers.145


The main reasons cited for this high percentage include passenger vehicle drivers’ unfamiliarity with the handling and capabilities of large commercial trucks, such as their longer braking distances, larger blind spots, and wider turning radii. 


This leads to behaviors like driving in blind spots, making unsafe lane changes, and turning left in front of trucks.45


In summary, the search results indicate that the majority, around 80-85%, of truck accidents in the U.S. are caused by the actions of passenger vehicle drivers. .145


Injured in a Trucking Accident? Clayton Trial Lawyers Can Help

In conclusion, the well-being of truck drivers is paramount. By understanding the common injuries for truck drivers and addressing what percentage of truck accidents are caused by cars, we can develop more effective strategies to protect these vital contributors to our society. Education, technology, and policy changes will play crucial roles in ensuring the safety of truck drivers nationwide.


Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Contact our experienced legal team for direct legal guidance and support.