It is a common misconception that truck drivers have easy jobs. In reality, truckers must drive long hours without getting tired, rely on little to no sleep, maneuver massive vehicles, and load and unload heavy equipment. Not only is all this work difficult, it’s also dangerous. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that truck drivers had the most fatalities of any occupation in 2015 with 745 work related deaths.
Drivers are forced to sacrifice safety for money.
Truckers are stuck in a constant battle between safety and wages.
Unfortunately, the way truckers’ wages are constructed require drivers to put their work ahead of their safety. Because delivery time is a critical factor on how much they get paid, drivers often continue driving even when they are too tired.
The 11/14 rule, which states a driver cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours and work more than 14 hours a day, is meant to prevent fatigued driving. However, many truckers break the rule in order to deliver quicker and earn more money. This not only risks their own safety, but it risks the safety of others on the road.
Fatigued driving is only part of the problem.
Although some deaths come from fatigued driving, other factors account for additional injuries and fatalities.
Unloading and loading heavy equipment is strenuous to the body and, if mishandled, can cause serious injury or death. Even if unloading and loading equipment is handled properly, the contrast between heavy lifting and extended hours of lethargy will wear down a driver’s bones and health over time.
More dangerous than fatigued driving is the carelessness of other drivers on the road.
The Department of Transportation reports than nearly two-thirds of fatal truck crashes are other vehicles’ fault. Car drivers often don’t consider a truck’s extended breaking distance, wide turns, or large blind spots when maneuvering around them.
However, the most dangerous aspect of truck driving isn’t a sudden event. It’s the sedentary lifestyle that truck drivers face daily. Sitting for over 10 hours a day ruins a trucker’s body by hurting their back and neck, causing blood clots, as well as significantly increasing their risk of cancer. These damages are nearly impossible to undo once they begin and will stick with a driver for the rest of his or her life.
What can we do to emphasize the importance of safety over money?
Extending delivery deadlines, even by just a day, would create a much safer environment for truck drivers. This would enable truckers to get more sleep and drive less per day. Furthermore, it allows drivers to maintain a healthier lifestyle by giving them extra time out of their uncomfortable driving seat.
While the stores expecting the delivery may not be happy to extend delivery deadlines, they must realize it is a fundamental step to reducing trucker fatalities.
Truck drivers are an essential component to America. Without their constant hard work, it would be impossible to maintain America’s growing economy. We must do all we can to keep truckers safe. If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident caused by another driver’s negligence, call my office today.
As your Ohio truck accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.