Survivors of motor vehicle accidents have long said they suffer major mental and emotional difficulties because of the event. Today, researchers consistently confirm it. In fact, in the general population, researchers consistently report that motor vehicle crashes are the single most common cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Most Americans today recognize that people in police work, emergency medicine and military combat suffer high rates of PTSD. But a recent article at a premier trucking industry website highlights how often commercial truckers face the often long-lasting, debilitating or even deadly effects of untreated PTSD.

Trucking industry aware of PTSD among drivers

FleetOwner recently published its brief interview with a research epidemiologist who is working on an experimental treatment for PTSD. The website’s audience is executives and fleet managers in commercial trucking, so it has good reason to keep its readers up to date on the future of PTSD care.

The publication says the high rate of PTSD among truckers is likely due to directly experiencing crashes (about one-third of American truckers are involved in a serious crash at some point) or witnessing a grisly injury first hand. Another common but little-recognized risk factor is “suicide by truck,” in which a person uses an unsuspecting trucker to end their life.

Statistics on Americans with PTSD coming into focus

The FleetOwner article says data on the prevalence of PTSD among truckers is difficult to quantify, and researchers also have difficulty settling on an exact number in the general American population for a variety of reasons. Whatever the right percentage might be, researchers are clear that motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of the condition in America.

Roughly 9% of people who survive a motor vehicle accident develop PTSD of various durations and severities. While many do not see a doctor about the condition, doctors confirm the diagnosis about three-fifths of the time. Among women, vehicle accidents are the second most common cause of trauma. Among men, they are the first.