Poor Working Conditions for Truckers Affect All Motorists

by Terry Bryant

As motorists, we all share our streets, roadways, and highways with commercial trucks. Truck drivers log billions of miles of driving time every year as they pick up and deliver goods throughout the country. Some of these trucks can weigh as much as 40 tons when their trailers are full. When accidents happen involving these behemoths, injuries and fatalities are likely to occur.

In fact, about one in four highway deaths happen in accidents involving large trucks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that there were 475,000 police-reported accidents involving large trucks in 2016. Of those crashes, 104,000 involved injuries and nearly 4,000 had fatalities. Among states, Texas had the highest number of fatalities from truck accidents. Sometimes it is the truckers themselves who are injured or killed, but more often, and not surprisingly, it is the occupants of the other vehicles who suffer the most when their much smaller vehicles and trucks collide.

Poor Working Conditions

Most truck drivers are hardworking men and women who strive for safety behind the wheel. Sometimes, though, weather conditions, road conditions, other drivers, and additional factors beyond the control of truck drivers can lead to accidents. But poor working conditions placed on truck drivers by their employers can cause drivers to not perform at their best, leading to crashes, injuries, and, sadly, fatalities.

While there are national regulations in place that regulate the number of hours drivers can work , truck driver fatigue is still a very real issue. Drivers are under intense pressure to deliver on time, which can lead to weariness and distraction behind the wheel. Stopping to eat may not be a high priority for truckers trying to get from point A to point B, which can lead to poor nutrition. Sedentary working conditions are also a factor that affects the overall health of drivers and, consequently, their performance on the road. Another frustration that truck drivers complain about that can influence their overall driving safety is having to get their miles in, because they are paid by the mile. When a truck or trailer has a service failure because of poor maintenance by fleet operators, truck driver income is reduced. When drivers have to wait long periods for trucks to be loaded, this can also affect their income. Additionally, a poor work-life balance adds to the stresses of driving. Long-distance truckers may not see their home or family for days or even weeks on end.

Implications for All of Us

The working conditions that truck drivers face on the job have serious implications for all of us who drive or are passengers on our streets and highways.

If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, we can help. The experienced truck accident attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are available to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or contact us through our online form.