According to a recent article published by USA Today, there were 918 truck driver fatalities in 2016 and 80,180 non-fatal injuries to truck drivers. The most common cause of death and injury was overexertion and bodily reaction. Truck drivers experience many dangers on the road, and unfortunately, those dangers carry over to those they share the road with. Below, let’s take a closer look at the truck driving industry and understand how this impacts other drivers on the road.
The truth is, truck driving is a demanding career. Due to the strains of the trucking lifestyle, there is an ongoing shortage of drivers. Recent estimates figure that there is currently a shortage of about 100,000 drivers, and by 2026 that number is expected to triple. Being a truck driver requires periods of prolonged sitting which can be difficult on the body. Many drivers are required to be away from their families for long stretches leading to a high number of divorces. For so many sacrifices truck drivers make on average $42,000 per year, hardly a salary worth the mental and physical hardships.
As driving shortages continue to increase, trucking companies are forced to make difficult decisions that unfortunately put your safety at risk. In order to maintain current contracts and profitability trucking companies often hire new drivers that they normally would not hire. Hiring standards become relaxed to help fulfill customer orders and delivery deadlines. Further, employers are asking drivers to work longer hours pushing the employees beyond what their physical limits are. Unfortunately, trucking companies that are already practicing illegal business operations will only continue to worsen with more demanding deadlines.
Defense is the Best Offense
So what can you do with dangerous truck drivers sharing the road with you? First, it is always best to practice defensive driving when you are near any large truck. This can include semi-trucks as well as delivery trucks such as trucks from UPS or FedEx. It is best to position yourself behind a large truck, rather than in front or beside the truck. It is always best to assume that the truck driver is exhausted while driving, so use the utmost caution. Unfortunately, though, truck accidents do happen. If you find yourself injured in an accident involving a large truck, it is best to contact an attorney to help fight for your rights and losses.