When a person chooses to take his or her own life, the effect is devastating for more than just one life. Their action hurts their family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and more. When a person decides to involve strangers in their suicide attempt, even more lives can be destroyed.
Truck accidents are often seen in the news. After all, there are about 500,000 accidents involving trucks annually. However, one type of trucking accident that does not get talked about or garner media attention is suicide by truck.
What is Suicide by Truck?
Suicide by truck is a method that people will sometimes choose to end their lives, believing that the force of a truck will take their lives. As devastating as this is, there is not much information on the subject because it is hard for researchers to determine how many people are committing suicide by stepping or driving in front of a moving truck. Without some sort of note or tangible forewarning, it is nearly impossible to classify these types of deaths as a suicide in any official capacity.
This is unlike suicides by railroad, which are tracked by the Federal Railroad Administration. Jill Harvkavy-Friedman, vice president of research for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stated, “There are no statistics for suicide by truck. Most likely, it would be lumped in with something else like pedestrian deaths.”
Attempting to commit suicide by stepping or driving in front of a truck can have brutal consequences. Obviously, a successful suicide attempt is one, but surviving suicidal drivers or pedestrians will be severely injured. Also, if a truck driver had to brake suddenly, or swerved to try and avoid the vehicle or person, they may have caused secondary accidents that may have resulted in serious injury or death to innocent bystanders or drivers.
The Effects on Truck Drivers
When people attempt suicide by running or driving in front of a truck, whether serious injury or death occurs, the effects on the truck driver can be distressing. Truck drivers that are unable to stop or avoid this type of situation may experience extreme stress and trauma. Even truckers that think they’re fine after the incident may be affected later. The trauma the trucker may experience can cause post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that could last a lifetime.
Truckers that experience someone driving or stepping out in front of their truck are often left questioning whether they could have done something differently to prevent the tragedy from happening. This can lead to truck drivers blaming themselves, having many flashbacks, or nightmares regarding the incident. Depending on the type of personality of the truck driver, the psychological trauma may keep the driver from ever getting back behind the wheel again.
For truckers that experience a person driving or stepping in front of their truck, they should seek psychological attention to help them deal with the trauma. This may be hard especially for truckers that do not think they are initially affected and are back on the road, but there are free mental health clinics, services for veterans, and suicide hotlines are also a great resource.
If you need help locating counseling services in your area, please call the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).