Truck driver occupational fatalities rose in 2017 to the highest number since at least 2003, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
BLS says the 840 truck drivers killed on the job in 2017 represented 77 percent of the 1,084 motor vehicle operators killed on the job last year — the most since it began tracking occupational statistics in 2003. There were 786 truckers killed on the job in 2016.
In total, there were 1,443 fatal injuries in the transportation and material moving occupations in 2017, a nearly 4 percent increase over the 1,388 fatalities in 2016, according to BLS.
BLS’ numbers are in line with those released in October by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA’s numbers showed there were 841 occupants of large trucks killed in crashes in 2017.
Across all occupations in the U.S., there were 5,147 workplace fatalities in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 reported in 2016.
Other occupations with high fatalities in 2017 were:
Construction – 965 fatalities
Installation, maintenance and repair occupations – 414 fatalities
Management occupations – 396 fatalities
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations – 326 fatalities.
According to the new report, the number of truck drivers who were killed on the job rose from 786 in 2016 to 840 in 2018. This marks a 6.6% increase and is the highest number of truck driver fatalities in a single year on record.
The total number of 2017 fatalities in the Department of Labor’s “Driver/sales workers and truck drivers” category was 987.
These findings pointing towards a frightening uptick in truck driver fatalities are backed up by data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which found that deaths caused by large truck crashes reached their highest levels in 29 years in 2017.
Additionally, deaths for all U.S. workers caused by transportation incidents increased from 2077 in 2016 to 2083 in 2017.
The Department of Labor report did not provide any clues as to why truck driver workplace fatalities are on the rise.
Overall, workplace fatalities dipped slightly from 2016 through 2017 for U.S. workers in all occupations.