One of the most common and frustrating problems for transportation companies is the high rate of turnover among truck drivers. The American Trucking Association reports that trucker turnover surged in the second quarter of 2017, and is now at 90 percent. Unfortunately, trucker turnover is more than a mere inconvenience for transportation companies. Inexperienced truck drivers cause accidents.
Truck accidents involve a great amount of force, and therefore cause more severe injuries than collision involving smaller, lighter vehicles. It is important to hold truck drivers and transportation companies accountable for their negligence when accident victims are injured in serious truck accidents.
Why the Trucking Industry Has Such a High Turnover Rate
According to CNBC, fatal truck crashes have been on the rise across America since 2009. While there are many causes of this trend, turnover is a major factor. Long hours, low pay and tough working conditions have caused turnover among truck drivers to remain near one hundred percent for many years now. Also contributing to the high turnover rate is that fact that truck driving is a very dangerous job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 25 percent of all workplace fatalities in America in 2015 occurred in the trucking industry. In most other industries, this many deaths would attract national attention.
Unfortunately, fatal truck accidents are often scattered in small numbers all across the country, and do not often receive significant media coverage. Accidents like those involving actor Tracy Morgan are the exception. CNN reports that the National Transit Safety Board discovered that the driver of the truck which rear-ended Morgan’s limo bus had not slept in the 28 hours prior to the accident. In contrast to the little public attention truck accidents receive, the trucking industry has powerful lobbyists in Washington D.C. These are professionals whose only job is to prevent Congress from regulating the trucking industry. Until there is an increase in public awareness, it seems that the government will be more likely to cater to the trucking industry than to the American public.
What Trucking Companies Can Do to Reduce Accident Rates
While the transportation industry will likely always have to contend with high turnover rates for truck drivers, there are safety risks which these companies can appropriately mitigate. It is crucial that trucking companies screen for problem drivers (especially those with a history of trucking and traffic violations) before they put these drivers on the road. Driver pay structure can also contribute to accident rates: because truck drivers are often paid by the mile, not by the hour, they are forced to choose between productivity and safety. New regulations are addressing this problem by requiring the installation of electronic logging devices. The American Trucking Associations estimate that these regulations, which allow federal regulators to view tamper-proof electronic data instead of relying on paper logs maintained by the truck driver himself, will affect more than three million truck drivers in the U.S. Even before these regulations take effect, transportation companies may be found negligent if they allow tired drivers to work too many hours. Contact an experienced Fairfield County truck accident attorney as soon as possible after any auto accident. Injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and losses.