Securing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and driving a commercial truck is one of the best blue-collar careers available. Depending on someone’s driving record and the routes that they will accept, they could easily earn six figures by pursuing a commercial transportation job.
However, they will have to endure a lot of stress to earn those competitive wages. Despite higher standards for CDL holders and the unique traffic laws that apply to semi-trucks, there are thousands of crashes each year that involve 18-wheelers hitting smaller passenger vehicles. In many cases, pressure from a commercial transportation career will directly contribute to a collision occurring. What aspects of professional driving increase the risk of a wreck?
In theory, there are Hours of Service rules that limit how long a commercial driver can operate a vehicle on any given day and over the course of a week. However, transportation companies may alter what drivers earn based on if they get their loads in on time or not. That pressure might motivate someone to drive when they should be off the road, which might lead to fatigued driving and a preventable collision. Drivers might also exceed the speed limit for commercial trucks when running behind, which will significantly increase crash risk.
There is actually a federal statute prohibiting the use of mobile devices while in control of a commercial vehicle. The federal no-text rule makes it a traffic infraction for someone with a CDL to manually use a mobile device while operating a commercial vehicle. Unfortunately, when drivers are on the road for days at a time, that can put pressure on their personal relationships. They may feel compelled to engage in conversations on the phone or to respond to text messages from spouses, children or friends while driving. That distraction could very easily lead to a truck driver making a mistake in judgment and causing a wreck.
A surprising number of semi-truck crashes relate to non-performance or a truck driver’s inability to continue driving. In some cases, they fall asleep at the wheel. However, heart attacks, strokes and even allergic reactions might render someone unconscious or unable to safely drive, thus resulting in a preventable collision. Those who are on the road the majority of the waking day may not have time to exercise, eat healthy meals or take proper care of their bodies.
Despite the rules in place to help prevent such crashes, the decisions of individual drivers and the pressure applied by their employers may lead to safety violations or poor choices that ultimately cause harm to truck operators and others. Pursuing a claim after a collision involving a commercial truck may help people cover the expenses generated by a preventable crash.