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Truck drivers can develop serious work injuries while driving

Many people think that truck drivers have a low-risk job. The truth is, truck drivers face serious risks while performing their duties to keep materials and goods moving around this country.

Typically, when commercial trucks get into collisions, the people in the other vehicle are more likely to die or get injured. However, roughly 24 percent of trucking accident fatalities are people who were riding in the commercial truck. Large trucks can be difficult to stop and hard to steer, particularly in inclement weather. Every time a truck driver goes to work, he or she is risking life and limb.

A crash in a commercial truck could break bones, strain or sprain muscles and connective tissue, cause head injuries or damage the spinal cord of the driver. Any of those injuries could be serious enough to keep a truck driver out of work for weeks or forever. Thankfully, the majority of professional truck drivers can go their entire career without any kind of serious accident. That doesn't mean that truck drivers who avoid accidents can't end up sustaining serious work injuries. Truck drivers are at risk for a host of injuries, many of which can happen even if the trucker is never in a collision.

Repetitive stress and back injuries are common

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), truck drivers are at increased risk for a number of injuries. These include traumatic injuries, strains and sprains, overexertion and other conditions. Because these professionals sit for such long periods each day, they incur the same kind of risks that other sedentary positions do, such as increased risk of heart disease and obesity. Truck drivers are also at risk for other kinds of injuries, like back and neck pain from inadequate back support while sitting for long periods of time.

Hands, wrists, arms, ankles and feet are also susceptible to repetitive stress damage. A truck driver will grip the steering wheel for many hours in a row, increasing the potential for carpal tunnel and other conditions affecting the wrists, forearm and ability to grip. Keeping the gas pedal engaged for a full shift can also put stress and strain on the foot, leg and ankle. Many commercial truckers may try to push past these painful issues, but doing so could result in more serious, even permanent injuries to body parts they depend on for their work.

Truckers who have sustained serious or debilitating and painful injuries in the line of work may qualify for workers' compensation, depending on their work arrangements. Given that one out of six workers killed on the job is a truck driver, it's also important to know that families of truck drivers can also qualify for survivors' benefits from workers' compensation.

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