Many motorists are nervous when sharing the road with commercial trucks. These massive vehicles are often moving at high speeds, and they’re frequently operated by drivers who are tired and travel-weary. Being involved in truck accidents has left numerous people with traumatic brain injuries, broken and shattered bones, disfigurations, and loss of mobility among many other things.
Although these vehicles are both necessary for supporting consumer demand and a vital part of the national economy, there’s a lot that commercial trucking companies could do to improve the safety of their drivers and their fleets. Following are several ways in which trucking companies cut costs at your expense.
Paying Drivers By The Mile Rather Than The Hour
Most commercial truck drivers are not paid according to the number of hours that they work. Instead, they’re paid according to the amount of miles that they cover. In efforts to keep up with the demands that are placed on them, truckers often attempt to cover at least 500 miles in a day.
Moreover, many drivers can operate their vehicles for as long as eight days straight before getting a day off. For these and other reasons, truck drivers have a high tendency to fall asleep behind the wheel, experience severe driver fatigue, and grow frustrated with other vehicles on the road. In short, trucking companies incentivize truck drivers to overwork themselves, and in so doing, they put people in passenger vehicles at risk of serious harm.
Failing To Properly Maintain Their Fleets
Just as truck drivers cover an average of 500 miles per day while working as many as eight days straight, their vehicles face these same rigorous demands. This often leaves little opportunity for properly inspecting vehicles, making minor repairs, and ensuring that timely maintenance is performed. Commercial trucks experience more tire blowouts than any other vehicles on the road. Worn brakes and other mechanical malfunctions are known to contribute to accidents as well.
That’s why when you work with a truck accident lawyer, your attorney will request a comprehensive accident investigation. These post-event assessments are performed to identify problems with vehicles, drivers, and other factors that may have contributed to a crash.
Not Investing In The Latest Safety Technologies
Speed limiters are one of numerous technological innovations that have been introduced to diminish the risks of commercial trucking. While speed limiters are required in all commercial trucks of a specific size, and operating within various areas, there are still many large-sized trucks that lack them, and that aren’t legally required to have them.
Notwithstanding this fact, all commercial trucking companies can choose to make this upgrade so that their vehicles are no longer able to travel faster than 65 mph. Voluntarily making this upgrade wouldn’t just limit the likelihood of truck accidents, but it would also help minimize the incredible crash force of these massive vehicles when collisions do occur.
Hiring Younger Drivers With Less Experience And Training
Experienced truck drivers with ample training can demand significantly higher pay than can young drivers who are just getting into the business. That’s why many trucking companies are largely staffed with new recruits who are just at or just above the legal age for operating commercial vehicles.
Many studies show that younger drivers with less training and experience are more likely to speed, make aggressive maneuvers, and engage in other driving practices that are risky.
Failing To Perform Routine Drug Tests
The use of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other stimulants has long been a widespread and well-known problem throughout the commercial trucking industry. Given that drivers have been incentivized to operate their vehicles for stretches of time, many turn to these substances to keep themselves awake, alert, and entertained.
Their work entails a number of long, lonely shifts, and time spent doing little more than staring at the road ahead. Unfortunately, stimulant use can lead to:
- Rash decisions
- Impaired judgement
- Aggressive driving and driving maneuvers
Understanding that this work is conducive to drug use, trucking companies should always perform drug testing according to the legal minimums for maintaining compliance. To ensure optimum levels of safety, these entities should also perform random testing for ensuring that drivers are not taking advantage of any lengthy testing gaps. Moreover, trucking companies should additionally make reasonable accommodations for all drivers needing time off for drug or alcohol rehabilitation and treatment.
Commercial trucking companies are an undeniably vital part of the American economy. To keep everyone on the road safe, however, these entities can do more to maintain their vehicles and ensure that their drivers are sufficiently trained, alert, and capable of skillfully navigating their vehicles. By making profits their first priority, some trucking companies are still failing to show adequate concern for the value of human lives.