The trucking industry is the lifeblood of American business. Not long ago, a profession in the trucking meant a likely successful career path. Though it’s still a strong industry with upward mobility prospects, there are still some struggle truckers face. Following are four of the most common difficulties that truckers in the United States face.
1. Lots of Work and Less Than Ideal Pay
Truckers work long, hard hours. They can spend up to 14 hours straight navigating confusing roads, dangerous weather conditions, or any other number of unfortunate circumstances. Sometimes, they only get around 10 hours to rest before they need to begin their next shift. They often only receive one full day off from work each week. There is government legislation about the number of hours a trucker should spend on the road, but the rules are often broken or ignored.
On average, a trucker earns $38,000 a year in salary. Though it’s a livable wage, it doesn’t consider the risks truckers take when they get behind the wheel. In fact, 12% of work-related deaths in the United States involve truck driving.
2. The Risks of Being on the Road Full Time
Driving is a risky business – and that especially true for those controlling a massive semi. The 12% trucker fatality come from severe traffic accidents that can happen in many ways. Long hours with little sleep can cause fatigue that is dangerous on the road because it makes it more difficult for them to focus. Additionally, many drivers also have deadlines so are in a rush to reach their destination by a certain time, pushing them to breaking some traffic laws so that they can make the deadline.
Poor weather is also extremely dangerous for truck drivers. They drive in almost any weather, so they must try to safely drive through snow, rain, ice, and other compromising weather conditions.
3. Sitting Time May Cause Health Issues
While truckers are on the road, it can be difficult to get a healthy meal. They often drive straight through multiple meals to keep their time on the road, and the only food available is fast food or pre-packaged snacks. Drivers also end up sitting for long hours without much exercise. Research shows that only 14% of the 3 million truck drivers in the United States are not obese.
The hours they work also make it difficult for drivers to get medical attention if they are ill. They often do not have time for appointments, leading them to ignore their symptoms so they can continue working.
Many drivers also suffer from depression, because they spend long hours alone, sometimes not seeing family or friends for days at a time. It is also common for truck drivers to develop spine issues from poor posture, bladder issues, and kidney issues.
4. Strain on Relationships
The hours that truck drivers spend on the road make it difficult to foster and develop close relationships. They often are not able to spend long amounts of time at home. Extended time periods away from spouses and children can put a strain on relationships that leads many truckers to leave and pursue different jobs.