In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that fatal accidents involving trucks numbered to 3,964, while those that caused injuries were 95,000. These accidents and injuries were caused by 73,000 of the 2 million semi-trucks that operated on US roads and highways.
Despite the high number of fatalities and injuries that these huge vehicles cause, as well as their being threats on the road, the government is cautious on putting too many restrictions on truck operators mainly due to the major role that trucks play in the US economy. In short, restrict truck operations with so many laws (besides laws on safety) and the country’s ability to do business can be crippled.
While the government cannot burden operators with higher taxes or higher pay for drivers, it does not shy away from creating and strictly enforcing laws that should ensure: qualification of drivers in operating a truck; use of truck parts, like brakes and tires that comply with DOT standards; keeping drivers form operating a truck while sleepy or fatigued; and, maintaining a record of regular truck inspection and maintenance.
One of the greatest challenges faced by operators and drivers since 2010 is how to accomplish all job orders and make timely deliveries considering the increasing lack of qualified drivers which, according to the American Trucking Associations, is now at 48,000.
Many truck drivers have considered moving to another field of work even with barely a year in the job due to the job’s small pay, required time (sometimes for weeks) away from family, the demands of the job and many other factors. Besides, what one can earn as a driver, he or she can also earn, with very little stress, in a local job.
Due to this shortage of drivers, a number of operators or employers have resorted to illegal means just to get as many job orders as they can and have these orders finished on time. Some of these illegalities include hiring unqualified drivers and failing to train them further; requiring their drivers to drive longer than the allowed number of service and then asking them to alter the number of hours they have rendered in log book; and, failing to properly screen applicants for past records or driving violations.
Driver error, according to the law firm Ausband & Dumont, puts everyone on the road in danger, and so does trucking company negligence. Trucking companies have the legal responsibility of ensuring that safety standards in regards to employees and vehicles are strictly upheld, as this will greatly affect the well-being of everyone, including other motorists and everyone else on the road. If and when trucking companies fail to uphold these standards, then they can be held financially responsible for their negligence.Read More