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Truckers and drivers/sales workers
Truckers and drivers/sales workers
Kansas City-based trucker Mark Sutherland.
Fatality rate: 18.3 per 100,000

Median wages: $37,730

Mark Sutherland is a long-haul trucker with a track record of 2 million miles without an accident. But not all drivers can make that boast.

More truckers and sales delivery men die on the job than any of the other top 10 occupations due to a moderately high fatality rate and a large number of workers.

Vigilance is vital but that can be hard to maintain, especially with truckers under pressure to produce. Government deregulation, according to Sutherland, has increased competition and squeezed profit margins. Some drivers and companies cut corners.

"They do what it takes," says Sutherland, "and some of the terrible accidents you see are the result."

For truckers pushing the limits, speeding and driving too long without proper rest take a toll. Things happen quickly when a big rig is rolling down the road at 75 miles per hour and the driver's attention has wandered after 10 hours with only a short break or two.

"You have to constantly pay attention," says Sutherland. "You can't have enough eyes. You have to adjust to conditions."

His pet peeve is the drivers who come to a dead stop at construction zones for no reason. That, fog, ice and snow are the most hazardous physical conditions that truckers face.

NEXT: Construction laborer

Last updated August 20 2010: 9:38 AM ET
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