When a truck accident happens, it’s often tempting to blame the whole thing on driver error – but that’s a shortsighted approach.
Trucking companies have a lot of power when it comes to roadway safety, but they don’t always live up to their responsibilities. Here are some of the ways that they fall short:
Poor hiring and training practices
It is true that driver error is the number one reason for truck accidents. However, when you look closer at why those drivers make mistakes, many problems can be reframed as poor hiring or training practices on the part of a trucking company.
The trucking industry is experiencing a massive shortage of qualified drivers, and that’s causing trucking companies to relax their standards. Many are putting younger and less-experienced drivers on long hauls, and that can be a recipe for disaster. They may also turn a blind eye to traffic violations that would have flagged a driver as “unsafe” in the past. Training, too, is suffering as trucking companies rush to man their fleets. Drivers with inadequate training may not learn how to manage a big rig during adverse weather conditions or how to respond appropriately to high winds, steep hills, sharp turns and other common hazards.
Unrealistic expectations and poor pay
Part of the reason that there’s a shortage of truckers is that the trucking companies have made it difficult for drivers to earn a fair wage. A lot of drivers are paid by the mile, which means they lose money when they’re stuck in traffic or have to slow down for bad weather. That incentivizes drivers to speed or push their own physical limitations so they don’t end up short on payday. Consumer expectations about fast deliveries have also become very high in recent years, and that can lead some trucking companies to demand nonstop high-performance work from their drivers, without additional compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a wreck with a truck or your loved one was killed in a truck accident, it’s important to consider the trucking company’s role in what happened. That’s the only way to hold these companies legally and financially accountable for their lapses.