About a hundred fatalities result each week from trucking accidents across the country. Many more people are injured or face long-term brain injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious personal injuries as a result of trucking accidents. Some trucking accidents are caused by the drivers of passenger vehicles, but many experts note that when truck drivers are liable for an accident, there are often deeper reasons and causes at work.
Most commercial truck drivers are hired by companies. These companies often see drivers as a means to a profit. The more products are ferried from one location to another in a shorter period of time, the more money the company stands to make. The more costs are put into trucking – to hire union drivers, for example, or to hire more drivers – the more these costs cut into profitability.
Some experts accuse some companies of cutting corners and putting all drivers at risk. Investigations have revealed that some companies do not screen drivers carefully and do not maintain trucks to keep them in good condition. Some companies hire too few drivers and put in place incentives to encourage drivers to drive too fast and too long to make deadlines. This can encourage unsafe trucking practices that lead to trucking accidents.
Companies requiring interstate trucking services do not need to pay drivers overtime in order to adhere to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, because the act does not cover trucking between states. As a result, many companies hire one driver to work 60 hours a week rather than hire more drivers. This can be dangerous when the driver is behind the wheel for too long and becomes exhausted and clumsy.
Many companies pay their drivers by the mile or the load. This means that drivers are pushes to work long and quickly. This can encourage drivers to take short cuts or to speed, since they are not paid for unloading, loading, or waiting. By not giving truckers an hourly wage – and therefore paying them more – companies sometimes compel drivers to work dangerously long hours or to cut corners in order to make a living wage.