Profit is the only goal in mind for trucking companies. The faster their goods can be delivered, the more money they make. In order to increase financial gain, truck companies may cut vital safety procedures and even encourage their drivers to break federal trucking regulations by speeding or driving for longer periods of time than legally allowed. When truck drivers cut corners, the roads are made even more dangerous for everyone.
Trucking companies typically have compensation structures that pay truck drivers for each mile driven or by the job, rather than hourly. This type of payment policy along with strict deadlines set by the company, encourages loads to be delivered quickly. However, many truckers are also incentivized to exceed the posted speed limits and drive for extended hours to meet their delivery times and to earn more money. Some employers offer financial incentives to drivers who deliver cargo early. Large trucks have been responsible for many serious injuries and deaths, as a result of speeding and fatigued drivers.
Truck drivers are not paid for the time they spend in traffic, in detention, or while waiting for maintenance repairs, which can lead to the following dangers:
Truck drivers may forego or take short cuts on safety inspections and maintenance, in order to get on the road quicker.
When truck drivers ignore federal laws on hours of service (HOS), they can easily become drowsy or tired. Fatigued truckers are less attentive to other drivers, changing road conditions, and are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Driving after being awake for 18 hours straight is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05. After being awake for 24 hours straight, it is like driving with a BAC of 0.10.
Since driver fatigue can keep truckers from meeting or being early on deadlines, some drivers resort to stimulants in order to stay awake. Driving while under the influence can impair cognitive functioning and judgment, as well as slow reaction time.
The following regulations are just a couple of the many that have been put into place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to increase safety for truck drivers:
Semi-trucks generally must travel at 55 mph or less, depending on the roadway conditions. This is 10 miles per hour below what most highways in the U.S. have posted for noncommercial vehicles.
If you or a loved on has been involved in a truck accident cause by negligence on behalf of a driver or the trucking company, contact Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. Our skilled truck accident lawyer will evaluate your case for free. Call us at (212) 732-9000 or request a consultation online.