Most drivers do not think about truckers on the roads until they have to share lanes with one or drive past one on the highway. But the truth is, the trucking industry has a bigger impact on road safety than anyone might suspect.
But exactly how do industry standards and protocols impact driver safety everywhere?
Incentives and threats
USA Today discusses truck driver shortages and the problems that cause truckers to quit, which includes abuse from the trucking industry. Unfortunately, as is the case with many industries, the trucking industry is rife with power structure issues and negligence.
For example, many truckers report gaining incentives to cram as much driving time into a shift as possible. Companies may offer bonuses like vacations or cash prizes to drivers who get as many deliveries into a shift as possible. Others may even threaten drivers with insane delivery schedules, threaten to dock pay, penalize, or even put drivers who fail to succeed on the least wanted routes and shifts.
They do this to maximize the amount of work that drivers can do on their wages. But this leads to drivers hitting the road when they do not have nearly enough sleep. Drowsy driving is a major cause of crashes on the highway, and truckers are particularly susceptible for this reason.
The dangers of drowsy truckers
On top of that, a drowsy trucker poses more of a threat than almost any other type of driver simply due to the size and weight of their vehicle. A trucker who crashes or crosses the median can easily involve many other cars in the incident, leading to numerous injuries or even death. And this is all due to one greedy industry.