Jobs in the transportation industry are not easy. There are strict schedules, demanding routes and a physical toll that the occupation takes on workers. Truck drivers are especially familiar with these challenges. And unfortunately, these are not the worst risks truckers face. According to statistics, last year, truck drivers accounted for nearly 80 percent of fatalities among motor vehicle operators killed while working.
Sadly, there is no quick fix for this serious problem, as several factors put truckers at an increased risk of occupational accidents and injuries.
There are currently tens of thousands of job openings for truck drivers in the U.S. This means that working truckers are under incredible pressure to take on more work and more routes.
Companies are also struggling to find people to fill open positions, which could involve unwise compromises. They may hire unqualified or untrained drivers; they may look the other way when it comes to occupational infractions; they may hire drivers who are not safe to operate commercial vehicles. These factors can all contribute to a higher risk of occupational accidents.
Too many trucking companies look for ways to cut corners and save money, even when it results in poor oversight or noncompliance with state or federal regulations. A company might allow or even encourage drivers to work beyond the appropriate number of hours; they may not follow through with necessary repairs. These are just a couple decisions that put drivers in danger of being hurt or killed in a crash.
Outdated, unsafe equipment
We read articles about technological advancements in the trucking industry and the possibility of having self-driving trucks on the road. However, many such options are not standard — or even available, yet. It also costs money to update fleets with the latest technology. Even though numerous technological solutions could save lives, it can be a financial impossibility for smaller fleets to adopt it.
With these factors in mind, it is important for anyone working in this industry or anyone with a loved one working in this industry to understand the very real risks truckers face on the job. Should an accident occur, parties should know what legal options and financial remedies may be available.