How Trucking Practices Place Drivers at Risk in Long Beach
More semi-trucks on the roads today make driving more hazardous for everyone – on some highways more than others. For example, the stretch of I-5 that runs through Orange County is particularly dangerous because of the number of big rigs traveling two and from Los Angeles. Much of the current truck traffic relates to shipping patterns and the ports of Long Beach and L.A.
What Are Some Common Dangerous Trucking Practices?
It is inherently dangerous enough for 4,000 lb. cars to share the road with fully loaded 80,000 lb. 18-wheelers. The sheer weight and size of commercial semi-trucks makes it more likely that passenger vehicle occupants will suffer serious injuries in a collision. To make the situation worse, trucking companies and their drivers may engage in dangerous practices that can lead to catastrophic or fatal accidents:
- Fatigued driving: Driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents. Truckers have demanding schedules with pressure from trucking companies to make deliveries on time. They may be tempted to violate hours of service regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) restricting the number of hours they can drive without sufficient rest. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving alcohol or drug impaired.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers spend hours on the road. They may be distracted by eating, drinking, talking on the phone, checking social media, or texting while driving. Driver distraction is dangerous in any case, and particularly when the driver is behind the wheel of a large commercial truck.
- Improperly loaded cargo: Semi tractor-trailers are more likely to crash when cargo is not properly loaded and secured. A truck may be overloaded, underloaded, or loaded incorrectly. Cargo that is not properly secured can shift and cause the truck to jackknife or roll over.
- Hiring inexperienced drivers: Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. Trucking companies are hiring young, inexperienced drivers who lack the skills to operate a big rig safely. Although these drivers may attend trucker school or training programs, there is no substitute for experience, and this practice puts others on the roadway at risk.
- Poor health habits: Truckers spend countless hours on the road, eating at diners and truck stops along the way, or stopping for fast food or at convenience stores. Lack of exercise and a healthy diet, stress, and long hours behind the wheel can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and other serious health conditions. Medical emergencies and health conditions among truck drivers can lead to serious accidents.
- Elderly truck drivers: There is no maximum age limit for truck drivers. Unlike pilots, truckers are not required to retire by a certain age. In response to the truck driver shortage, trucking companies are hiring drivers in their 70s and 80s, even those with significant age-related physical problems and limitations. It is a fact of life that cognitive function, reaction time, manual dexterity, and vision can decrease with aging, all of which are essential for safely operating a semi-truck.
What Are You Facing When You Go Up Against a Trucking Company with an Insurance Claim?
Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers to fight against your claim. They will employ any number of tactics to minimize their payout or to avoid liability altogether. Truck accidents are complex cases involving federal and state regulations and multiple potentially liable parties. You need a Long Beach personal injury attorney with the knowledge, skills, and resources to fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you have been seriously hurt in a truck accident caused by negligence, call The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569. Mr. Low has a history of success for our clients.