Posted By: SSF Law Firm Posted In: Truck Accident Posted On: October 20, 2018
Here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, it may seem as if those huge 18-wheeler trucks are everywhere. Sometimes it even seems as if there are more truck than we need. But this is all an illusion.
In reality, Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation is struggling with a massive trucker shortage. “Well, fewer trucks means safer roads and highways, right?” you may think. “Not really,” says our Pittsburgh truck accident attorney at Shenderovich, Shenderovich& Fishman. “What truck driver shortage does is the opposite, it increases the risk of truck crashes.”
Fact: According to estimations, there are up to 100,000 unfilled truck driver job postings across the country, and the figure keeps growing each year.
Since drones are not designed to carry large quantities of products across the nationyet, the demand for trucks is surging across the nation. But there are not enough truck drivers to help various types of businesses haul products and supplies across the country.
In fact, even pay hikes and generous bonuses do not seem to motivate people to become truck drivers. One of the reasons why people are reluctant to become truck drivers is the strict federal regulations, which limit the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to be on the road to no more than 11 hours of driving.
Our experienced truck accident attorney in Pittsburgh also says that there are regulations that require truckers to be off duty for 10 hours before their shift. In addition to that, drivers cannot work for more than 70 hours in a consecutive eight-day period, and their hours of service must be documented with the help of electronic logs.
It is true that the strict federal regulations for the trucking industry have repulsed many truck drivers and discourage people from becoming truckers despite all the benefits and bonuses offered by trucking companies.
But it is understandable why these federal regulations were introduced in the first place. These regulations exist for a reason: to prevent truck drivers from driving drowsy and sacrificing sleep to earn more money. Fatigued and drowsy driving cause more truck accidents than you can imagine, which is why these regulations were designed to make the roads safer for everyone.
Drowsy driving slows down reaction time and impairs the truck driver’s judgment and vision, all of which can cause a collision. Truck drivers who cannot properly respond to imminent dangers are known to be more likely to cause a truck accident.
But here is the dilemma. With so many job openings and unfilled job postings, trucking companies feel the need to put more pressure on their existing truck drivers, which often violates the hours of service restrictions.
To keep up with delivery schedules, truck drivers are pressured into staying on the road for longer hours. Other trucking companies even encourage their drivers to turn off the electronic logs that document the drivers’ hours of service to escape liability in the event of a truck accident.
“But this is just half of the problem,” says our Pittsburgh truck accident attorney. “Many trucking companies feel that they have no choice but to hire inexperienced drivers and truck drivers with prior traffic citations and even convictions.”
Besides, many trucking companies turn the blind eye to truck drivers who consume alcohol or drugs while on the road. The rationale behind their lack of action is, “If we fire this truck driver, we will have one more job opening we will not be able to fill.” Most of the time, both the at-fault truck driver and his/her trucking company can be held liable for a truck accident.