There are many causes of truck accidents. Long hours, difficult maneuvering and pressure to meet mileage goals make truck driving a demanding profession with a high turnover rate, leading to a shortage of qualified truck drivers. Unfortunately, this shortage places pressure to put drivers on the road when they are too tired, inexperienced or otherwise unsafe to operate heavy trucks with massive cargo loads. Such pressure increases the risk of truck accidents on the roads of Texas.
These collisions tend to be much more serious due to the sheer size of the vehicles involved. A good Houston truck accident lawyer can help explain how you can recover financial compensation following a devastating truck crash.
The Reasons Truck Drivers Leave The Industry
USA Today spoke with many professionals in the truck driving industry about the changes it will face in coming years. One driver noted that she faces low pay, a nomadic lifestyle, a camera monitoring her every move in the cab of her truck, and new federal regulations requiring the use of electronic logging devices. The new devices will monitor and report mileage to comply with federal limitations on the hours of service a driver may work in a given day. Many drivers express concerns that the devices will further impair their privacy. Some executives estimate that 10 percent of truck owner-operators will leave the business once the mandate is effective and begins restricting profits.
Some firms are offering a variety of incentives to recruit new truck drivers to their fleets. Signing bonuses, guaranteed late pay, or higher mileage for drivers are just some of the benefits being advertised at truck stops across the nation. Yet, as one trucker noted to USA Today, “if a company has to bribe you to work then something’s wrong.”
What Will Transportation Companies Do If They Cannot Hire Enough Qualified Drivers?
Trucking companies that cannot meet their staffing needs will be left with unpleasant decisions. They can reduce the number of jobs they accept, which will lower their profits and potentially cause disruptions to consumer goods reaching store shelves. Or they can attempt to meet their needs with unqualified or inexperienced drivers.
Some companies may blatantly attempt to circumvent federal regulations for commercial drivers licenses or hours of service requirements. Others may push the boundaries of safety by employing drivers who are legally authorized to drive, but do not have the experience to safely respond to driving situations. Other drivers with past infractions may have been undesirable candidates in favorable hiring conditions, but still able to be employed when fleets face driver shortages. These “gray areas” can place employers in the questionable position of complying with federal trucking regulations, but still exposing other road users to an unreasonable risk of injury.
Trucking companies are liable for the negligent acts their drivers commit within the scope of their employment. In this manner, a trucking company can be held liable for an accident caused by a negligent truck driver. A trucking company may also face liability for negligently hiring an unqualified driver. The fact that the driver was legally authorized to drive a truck does not mean that he or she had the necessary experience to do so safely, and it will not prevent an employer from escaping liability for hiring inexperienced drivers. A Houston truck accident attorney can help injury victims protect their legal right to be compensated for injuries and financial losses sustained in a truck accident.