Truck Drivers

Truck drivers are among the professions that OSHA recognizes as having some of the highest exposures to diesel exhaust and diesel particulate matter. Not surprisingly, medical studies indicate that truck drivers suffer much higher rates of diesel-related illnesses, including cancers of the lung, kidney and bladder along with pulmonary issues like COPD and asthma.

Diesel Injury Law serves sickened truck drivers and will analyze the unique exposures of each driver on a case by case basis and determine the best approach for bringing their claim. We currently represent numerous truck drivers in worker’s compensation cases against their past and current employers, including claims against large outfits like UPS Freight and FedEx and we have other claims against smaller, mom and pop operations.

Drivers who have suffered acute carbon monoxide poisoning incidents from diesel exhaust exposures often find it difficult to return to work around diesel exhaust. Further, other drivers who have been chronically exposed to diesel exhaust for many years sometimes begin to develop worsening symptoms each time they operate a truck, including a running nose, watery or itchy eyes, sore throat, headaches, lightheadedness, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. These symptoms can eventually disqualify a driver from being able to work.

Day in and day out, truck drivers are exposed to diesel exhaust and diesel particulates in many ways, including:

Improperly Maintained Trucks – Over time, and especially when a truck hasn’t been properly maintained, the exhaust systems of trucks can break down and begin to allow fumes into the cab. Per our clients, we know that some trucking outfits who only care about the bottom line send drivers to work in broken down trucks with cabs reeking of diesel exhaust.

Garages, Docks, Depots and Job Sites – Many of the buildings where the trucks operate near or even within, are often improperly ventilated. Drivers dispatched from improperly ventilated buildings suffer daily diesel exposures whenever they come and go from their job duties. Drivers who make regular deliveries to certain industries may suffer exposures at those job sites. Job site exposures often go beyond diesel exhaust and we will analyze each unique exposure to determine whether it is related to your illness.

Sleeping in Cab of Truck – Over the road drivers sleep in the cabs of their trucks amongst other running trucks that kick off diesel exhaust. While asleep, drivers can suffer diesel exposures from numerous sources, including their own truck, their auxiliary power unit, refrigerated trailers and even APU’s on the trucks parked nearby. Although chronic exposures may not result in acute carbon monoxide poisoning incidents, they can contribute to long term health problems.

During Refueling – Drivers do suffer diesel fume exposures during refueling and while these exposures may seem brief, they accumulate over time. In addition, when fuel is spilled on your hands, gloves or clothing, it can be absorbed through your skin and result in illnesses such as leukemia years later.

Your Freight – While not necessarily diesel-related, exposures to the freight that is being hauled may also contribute to health issues. Tanker truck drivers who are tasked with the filling, measuring and emptying of those tanks may be exposed to many harmful chemicals in the process. Drivers hauling open gondola or hopper trailers may be exposed to harmful dusts or fumes from their loads.

Your DPF System – Regen fumes are a developing area of study and amazingly, little has been written about the exact content of those fumes that drivers breath when their trucks go into a regeneration. Diesel Injury Law has received many complaints from drivers about regen fumes and we are investigating these complaints.

If you are a truck driver who has been sickened by diesel exhaust exposures or you are concerned about the health effects of regen fumes, feel free to contact Diesel Injury Law via email at or phone (312) 877-5588.

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