Like most Americans, you may feel concerned that truckers work long hours, driving large vehicles on some of our country’s most dangerous roads. These factors create a dangerous cocktail that puts you and other road users at risk. Multiple accidents are caused by trucker fatigue or poor decision making, and they typically affect other road users, often in life-changing ways.
Are truck drivers to blame for these long hours and grueling work conditions or should road users hold employers accountable? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average trucker puts in 60 hours of work each week and hauls for more than 100,000 miles in a year. These numbers are high considering the great responsibility that comes with driving a big rig. However, pointing the finger at them alone does not capture the complexity of the work environment truckers operate in.
Employers and Contracting Companies Have Strict Targets
It may seem easy to blame truckers for falling asleep at the wheel or speeding. Unfortunately, these risky behaviors that put you and your family at risk may stem from a need to meet unrealistic targets.
The CDC reports 73% of truckers believe the deadlines employers ask them to meet are too tight or unrealistic. This implies truckers would love to get off the road when tired and work fewer hours.
Truckers Fight Back When Asked to Drive Less
California and the federal government have created new regulations to protect truckers from over-demanding employers. The federal laws aim to regulate how long employers can ask truckers to drive each day. Meanwhile, California sought to ensure truckers received regular breaks.
Some truckers welcomed these changes, but not all drivers wanted them. In fact, some lobbied the government to roll back Obama-era regulations on driving hours. They felt government officials should not get to determine the length of their driving days.
The causes of trucking accidents and questions of blame remain multi-faceted issues. Still, should you or your loved ones become injured in an accident involving a commercial trucker, it is worth noting the possibility of holding more parties than just the trucker liable.