With more than 5 million trucks and 250 million motorists sharing the road, dangerous trucking company practices can put everyone at risk. Although trucking companies are subject to federal safety regulations, non-compliance continues to be a major issue within the industry largely because of pressures on drivers to deliver loads on time. When it comes to the trucking industry, there are two primary factors contributing to unsafe and dangerous company practices: driver shortage and how drivers are compensated.
If you have been injured in an accident due to a trucking company’s negligence or dangerous practices, the Houston truck accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are here to help. We have been assisting truck accident victims recover the compensation they deserve for more than 40 years. Contact us today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free consultation.
Commercial Driver Shortage in the Trucking Industry
In 2014, the trucking industry was short 38,000 drivers. That number is expected to reach nearly 175,000 by 2024. The shortage is detrimental for long-haul operations, and many trucking companies are struggling to find qualified drivers. Two main reasons for the truck driver shortage are age and hours-of-service regulations.
The median age of truck drivers is 49, and many are forced to retire because they cannot keep up with the physical demands of the job. At the same time, younger workers are not replacing them as they leave. Additionally, the more stringent hours-of-service regulations reduce productivity, and require more trucks and drivers to pick up the slack.
The commercial driver shortage can lead to trucking companies compromising safety. Some examples of dangerous practices include:
• Hiring potentially dangerous or unfit drivers
• Encouraging drivers to violate hours-of-service rules
• Placing newly hired drivers on the road before they are properly trained
• Creating unrealistic delivery schedules
• Poorly maintained trucks
• Falsifying logbooks
Truck Driver Pay Structure
The vast majority of truck drivers are paid by the mile instead of by the hour, meaning that they are not compensated for detours, time spent loading or unloading a haul, or being lost on the road. Consequently, truckers’ pay can fluctuate from week to week due to unforeseen delays, breakdowns, or bad weather.
Paying by the mile is not only unfair, it’s unsafe. The pay-by-the-mile pay structure creates financial incentives for drivers to speed, avoid taking breaks, use drugs to stay awake for long hours, not report injuries or health problems, and drive during unsafe conditions. Truck drivers are also less likely to refuse to violate safety regulations because of fear of retaliation from their employer.
Work With an Experienced Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents often result in devastating and life-altering injuries. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our Houston personal injury lawyers can investigate your accident to determine fault and build a case designed to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries. Our proven track record of success includes the largest verdict in Texas for a commercial trucking case in 2014.
Call us today at (281) 283-8500, or contact us online to receive a free consultation.