Trucking Companies Can Encourage Dangerous Driving Practices

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The nature of the trucking industry can encourage dangerous driving practices, because of the training procedures and compensation systems which contribute to unsafe practices in order to meet expectations, but often can increase the risk for an accident.

Types of Dangerous Driving Practices

The biggest encouragement of dangerous driving practices correlates to companies that compensate based on the number of miles driven and that regulate drivers through rigid schedules.

Piecework pay refers to the concept of paying employees by the mile.1 This practice of compensation is an economic theory that eliminates surplus labor by only paying employees for the work they actually produce not based on the general time spent at work or on-duty.2 This type of compensation system, as applied to the trucking industry, means that workers are being paid only when they are actually driving, unloading cargo, or loading shipments. As a result, drivers are indirectly encouraged to engage in unsafe practices such as speeding, driving fatigue (often in violation of hours of service regulations), or use anti-sleep or caffeine pills, (these medications initially keep a driver awake, but have serious side-effects such as heart palpitations, problems breathing, seizures, convulsions, hallucination, nervousness, or restlessness which all increase the chances for an accident) all in order to meet their work deadlines under the least amount of required time needed to travel since compensation is based solely on mileage.3

Rigid schedules or tight deadlines also tend to encourage dangerous driving practices, because drivers not only tend to speed, but other defensive tactics such as rapid lane changing or tailgating correlate to strict trucking company delivery schedules. The share size and design of a commercial truck can make speeding or tailgating more dangerous than these same actions committed by a different driver, because large trucks are unable to turn or stop as quickly. This is evident by the studies conducted by the United States Department of Labor which reports that exceeding the speed limit was a direct factor in 22 percent of fatal crashes.4 These same schedules can also be responsible for careless conducted safety inspections, testing, and procedures. In order to make sure a delivery is made on time, drivers often neglect to inspect the loads or truck as guidelines would encourage. This can include inadequate truck maintenance when a company or driver does not adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations or follow the series of required inspections that must be conducted prior to each job.

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that involved a commercial truck which may have been operated under dangerous driving practices, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.

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Resources:

  1. http://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-3349/why-drivers-are-paid-by-the-mile
  2. Ibid.
  3. http://infotainmentnews.net/2013/07/10/anti-sleep-pills-commonly-truckers/
  4. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trucking_industry/safetyinfo.html