Life is tough for some truck drivers. Trucking companies have, over the course of decades, increased the demands on their drivers, and a career that was once marked by good pay and benefits is now becoming a gig that fewer people want to take on.
The burdens of being a truck driver don’t just impact truckers; they affect everyone on our roads, from pedestrians to bicyclists to other motorists. That’s because big commercial vehicles are deadly when they’re operated by distracted and fatigued drivers.
We all share the road with large trucks, so we all have an interest in making sure that the people who drive those trucks aren’t endangering us because of the demands of their job.
Challenges Facing Truck Drivers
Fatigue: Nearly one-third of all truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea, roughly three times the rate of those in the general population. Sleep apnea, along with long, taxing hours behind the wheel, dramatically increase the likelihood of being involved in drowsy driving crashes.
Fatigue is such a dangerous and prominent problem in the trucking industry that the U.S. Department of Transportation has even implemented Hours of Service rules, which dictate how long a driver can operate a vehicle on any given day or in a seven- to eight-day stretch.
Distraction: Like all motorists, truck drivers can be distracted by mobile devices, passengers, excessive noise, or eating and drinking behind the wheel. One study found that more than two-thirds of all trucking crashes occurred when truck drivers were distracted.
Health problems: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted a survey among truck drivers which found that truckers are more likely than other workers to smoke, be overweight, be physically inactive, and have diabetes. These medical conditions can put drivers at risk of crashes and, in some cases, threaten their ability to hold a commercial driver’s license.
An increasingly demanding job: The trucking industry is facing a labor shortage of tens of thousands of drivers. The shortage has been ongoing (and increasing) for decades, and it was worsened by COVID-19. The long hours behind the wheel, the increase in shipping costs carried by drivers, and the increasing wait times at shipping destinations make driving a truck an increasingly undesirable job.
The trucking industry struggles to bring in new labor and retain the drivers it currently has. That means more and more drivers lack experience, and inexperience is one of the biggest predictors of crash risk.
In Large Truck Crashes, Passenger Vehicle Occupants Are Typically Injured
In the vast majority of commercial vehicle crashes, it’s the occupants of the smaller vehicles who suffer serious injuries. Even the largest SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans are no match for these 80,000 lbs. behemoths during collisions. That’s why we all have a stake in the health and well-being of truck drivers.
When you’re involved in a crash with a truck, it’s wise to contact an experienced truck driving lawyer to protect your rights to compensation. Trucking companies and their insurers know how to mitigate their liability and pay injured motorists far less than they deserve.
The damages suffered by injured people in large truck accidents is typically far greater than in crashes involving two passenger vehicles. The injuries tend to be more severe, which means the medical bills and lost income are also much higher. That’s why it’s important to speak to a seasoned truck accident lawyer immediately after a collision with a commercial vehicle.
If You Need Legal Help, Contact Fieger Law
At Fieger Law, we have years of experience holding insurance and trucking companies responsible for the compensation they owe injured motorists. If you’d like a free consultation with our team, contact Fieger Law today to get started.