How Truckers Put Other Drivers at Risk
Truck drivers play a vital role in the massive supply chain of the U.S. They have difficult jobs, with long, grueling hours on the road, poor diets, inherent risk of accidents, and pressure to drive in dangerous weather. With the high demand for drivers, trucking companies may knowingly hire individuals with a history of reckless driving or fail to do a thorough background check. These factors, combined with actions within the trucking industry and the sheer numbers of semi tractor-trailers on the road today put passenger vehicle occupants at risk.
How Is the Trucking Industry Increasing the Risk of Truck Accidents?
In 2021, the truck driver shortage in the U.S. was predicted to reach over 80,000, as reported by the American Trucking Association (ATA). This shortage is due to several factors, including retirement, industry growth, and high turnover rates. Actions in the trucking industry as a result of the driver shortage may contribute to the risk of truck accidents, including:
- Hiring inexperienced drivers: With the growing demand for drivers, some carriers may be relaxing their requirements and hiring drivers with very little experience. It may take more skill and competence to safely operate a big rig than inexperienced truck drivers have.
- Hiring unqualified drivers: Trucking companies in desperate need of drivers may cut corners in the hiring process, overlook a history of reckless driving or accidents, or fail to verify credentials or run a background check. Negligent hiring practices that put unqualified drivers in control of 80,000 lb. 18-wheeler put others on the roadways at risk.
- Setting more rigorous delivery schedules: With fewer truckers hauling loads, some companies may place greater demands on the drivers they have. They may set demanding or even unrealistic schedules in an effort to maximize their profits. Overworked truck drivers may become fatigued, significantly increasing the risk of a crash.
- Overloading trucks: Motor carriers may overload trucks with cargo to attempt to compensate for the shortage of drivers. Overloaded tractor trailers are less stable and more difficult to maneuver. Overloading also increases the risk of brake failure, tire blowouts, and other equipment failure.
- Calling for bigger rigs: The trucking industry is proposing a dramatic increase in the size of large commercial trucks and an increase of their load by as much as eight tons. A collision between a 4,000 lb. passenger vehicle and a fully-loaded semi tractor-trailer weight 97,000 lbs. could have even more catastrophic results than with the current 80,000 lb. weight limits.
How Do You Drive Safely With Large Trucks On the Road?
With so many 18-wheelers on the roadways, diligent driving is required to stay safe. Large commercial trucks have slow reaction times and large blind spots, and they make wide turns. When driving in the vicinity of big rigs:
- Stay alert.
- Maintain a safe distance.
- Stay out of the truck’s blind spots.
- Pass on the left.
- Allow plenty of room when merging or changing lanes.
- Signal well in advance.
- Dim your brights when approaching a large truck head on or from behind.
What Are Your Rights After a Serious Truck Accident?
If you have been seriously injured through the negligence of a truck driver, motor carrier, parts manufacturer, or other party, you are entitled to seek compensation for your losses. At HN Injury Lawyers, we are efficient, proactive, and do our best for our clients, no matter how big or small the case. Our Santa Ana personal injury attorneys have combined experience of nearly 50 years, including more than 100 jury trials. Call us at (657) 333-5726 for effective legal representation in a truck accident case.