Big commercial trucks often scare people in smaller vehicles despite the fact that their drivers have more training and experience than the average person on the road. Commercial vehicles can do serious damage to smaller vehicles and their occupants in a collision.
Unfortunately, no matter how diligent a commercial driver is, their company may have policies that encourage them to do dangerous things at the wheel. There are many company policies that make commercial trucking dangerous, but the three below are among the most egregious and concerning.
- Requiring drivers to stay in communication while in the field
Since the commercial transportation industry has transitioned to electronic logging devices, employers theoretically have information about every move a commercial driver makes. Long gone are the days when radio or phone communication was the only option for checking in on the status of a shipment.
Unfortunately, some trucking companies still require that their drivers be accessible to answer phone calls, read emails and respond to text messages even during their driving shifts. While there are federal consequences for these kinds of policies, including up to an $11,000 fine for the company, many trucking companies still demand that workers respond to them quickly.
- Making pay contingent on the quick delivery of shipments
Driving as a commercial trucker can be a way for someone to make a decent living without going to college or trade school. Unfortunately, companies often put unfair stipulations on the wages of their workers. For example, truckers may only earn a base wage per mile unless they deliver the shipment by a specific time.
These deadlines don’t take any other factors into consideration, including weather, traffic issues or even a client that takes too long loading the trailer. Truck drivers may drive on roads not appropriate for the size of their vehicle or travel faster than they should to get where they need to go. They might also drive for longer than they safely can.
- Scheduling truckers for the maximum number of hours allowed by law
There are federal hours of service rules that help limit how long a driver can be on the road. The aim is to keep the public safe by keeping exhausted truckers off the streets. Many trucking companies will schedule a worker for the maximum number of hours they can legally drive and expect them to travel the maximum number of miles possible during each hour.
Workers may have no choice but to continue driving when they no longer should if their employer demands. As if that weren’t bad enough, these long work hours don’t take into account other obligations that drivers may have, like the commute back to their house and the need to feed themselves and shower before they sleep.
Looking at the circumstances that led to a trucking crash can help someone determine if the driver was responsible or if the company that hired them has some legal responsibility for the collision.