Professional truck drivers often have a lot of risk in their job without a lot of protection. Not only can they get hurt loading and unloading their trailers, but they can also suffer serious injuries if they get into a crash. As if that weren’t bad enough, the public is very quick to blame such collisions on the commercial driver when it may have been the result of factors outside of their control.
Although some commercial crashes are the results of decisions on the part of a truck driver, other times, the problems that led to the crash are the responsibilities of their employer. There are three common ways that trucking companies increase the risk hat their workers have of getting into a crash.
Companies sometimes push workers into unsafe driving practices
It is common for trucking companies to pay their workers by the mile while they drive and sometimes to offer increased compensation for those who make on-time deliveries. Having deadlines regardless of weather or traffic conditions might prompt some commercial drivers to exceed the posted speed limit or continue to drive when they should take a rest because they feel fatigued.
Even using hands-free devices while behind the wheel can distract a driver. There are federal rules against manually dialing phones, as well as sending or receiving written messages while at the wheel of a commercial vehicle.
Unfortunately, some companies still have policies that require their staff members to respond to calls, text messages or emails within a certain amount of time. That could mean that a driver has no choice but to read or respond to messages or attempt to answer the phone while driving.
Companies may not maintain their fleet well enough
Taking care of commercial trucks is expensive, and they require maintenance and inspections frequently because of the long trips they take. Some companies just don’t invest enough in the maintenance of their vehicles.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 10% of crashes caused by commercial trucks are due to issues with the vehicle itself. Faulty brakes, a rear underride guard coming loose because of rust or even balding tires could all directly lead to a crash.