Truck Accident Risk Increased by Driver Shortage
Over the years, the truck accident risk has increased around the nation. This is because there are more big trucks, including semis and other haulers, on the roadways. The industry is also suffering from a shortage of drivers. Experts are saying the shortage of drivers is now around 60 percent. This may triple to 100,000 by 2026. With more trucks on the road and a driver shortage, risky behavior may lead to serious accidents with other motorists.
Causes of the Shortage in Truck Drivers
A number of factors come into play that explains the shortage of truck drivers. Regulatory changes have made it harder for truckers to earn a living. The workforce is aging, and younger people do not seem inclined to want this type of life. The turnover is high in trucking, as drivers tire and look for an easier way to make a living. Trucking is dangerous too and was cited by USA Today as one of the most dangerous occupations.
The Risks to Other Motorists
A truck driver who is expected to make fast deliveries and then turn around and take another load is a danger to themselves and to others. Trucking companies that hire inexperienced drivers are another concern that increases truck accident risk. Big rigs are complex and difficult to operate. They require special handling and skills, especially since they have large no zones and multiple brakes. Driving an 80,000-pound vehicle that is enormous isn’t easy. Some of the accidents that can be caused by an inexperienced or overly tired truck driver or company include:
- Underride and override accidents: Truck accident risk is increased when an inexperienced trucker makes a sudden stop or speeds. This can cause a vehicle behind the truck to pass underneath it or the big rig to pass over the car in front. These accidents are common causes of fatalities. Traumatic brain injuries and other serious bodily damage also occur such as chest trauma and broken bones.
- Improper braking: 18-wheelers generally have five axles, and it takes a lot of braking power to stop one in an emergency situation. They are equipped with 10 brakes. The newer models have anti-lock brakes, but that may not be the situation with older trucks. When a trucker hits the wrong brake, it can cause the truck’s trailer to connect with the cab, causing a jackknife. In some cases, the truck experiences a rollover, which is dangerous not only for the driver but for those in other vehicles.
- Improper loading: Loading a semi-trailer or flatbed takes skill. Improper loading can increase truck accident risk by causing the vehicle to lose its load in the roadway or roll over. When the truck is carrying steel beams or logs, the result is disastrous. It can lead to a multiple vehicle collision with severe injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord damage and head injuries as well as fatalities.
- Maintenance issues: Some older big rigs may have millions of miles on them. Maintenance is obviously important because it reduces truck accident risk. However, rather than spend money on needed tires or new brakes, independent operators or companies may decide to keep running on the old ones. Some maintenance is handled by the company. In other cases, it may be dealt with by a truck maintenance company or the truck driver. An attorney experienced in truck accidents can help by checking who was supposed to perform the maintenance on a big rig.
Recovering Compensation After a Truck Accident
Being involved in an accident with a negligent truck driver can leave you seriously injured. As an experienced truck accident lawyer, I can find out why it happened. Those who are injured through the negligent actions of another should never bear the financial brunt of that accident. Collecting personal injury damages will not make you heal any sooner, but it can remove the financial burden.
Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. If you were injured by a negligent truck driver or their company is responsible, give me a call at (916) 921-6400. From elsewhere in Northern California, call toll-free at (800) 404-5400. Others prefer to use our contact form online.
Since 1982, I’ve helped Sacramento residents obtain the financial compensation they need and deserve following an accident. I handle all types of motor vehicle crashes, cases that involve wrongful death and all serious injuries.
Although I belong to a number of professional organizations, I am especially proud of the following ones:
- Million Dollar Forum: Represents lawyers who have won more than one million dollars for a client.
- National Association of Distinguished Counsel: Recognizes the select group of lawyers who exhibit legal excellence in their law practice.
You can discover more about my law practice by checking out the following links:
Photo Attribution: Depositphotos_35869223_l-2015
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