In current times the real struggles of truckers nationwide are coming to light. It’s nothing that hasn’t grabbed attention before, but still, there’s no change. The trucking industry allows for very loose rules, and the rules they have are complex and confusing. Trucking companies will often exploit the complexity of these rules in order to have their drivers working for more than sixty hours a week. While many people are understandably upset at truckers that cause accidents, there may be a bigger problem.
If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, an 18-wheeler accident attorney in Richmond may be able to help.
How Long Does the Trucking Industry Let Truckers Work in a Day?
The Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide outlines that drivers can easily drive for 11 hours a day. Imagine that most people work for eight hours a day with maybe a 30-minute commute on each end. That means they’re out of the home regarding work for less than ten hours. While a trucker can drive for 11 hours, then sleep for eight, eat at that time and try to clear their head from work.
While truckers can drive for 11 hours a day, they can drive for at most 14 hours straight. When that “day” rolls over, a new day starts, and they can tack an additional 3 hours onto that initial 11. What’s worse is that truckers are often pushed to drive for longer to meet tight deadlines.
How Well Would You Drive Under Those Conditions?
Few people imagine it, but driving down Interstate 10 from Texas to Atlanta with little traffic and the same scenery for miles creates road hypnosis. The road hypnosis is why many truckers eat sunflower seeds, chew, smoke, drink massive amounts of soda, or call in to talk radio. The goal is to keep them entertained enough to stay alert without distracting them from the road.
Many companies are beginning to impart restrictions on what they can do behind the wheel beyond the legal restrictions. Then there are states that are issuing tickets for eating behind the wheel. How long could you drive like that without getting distracted, hazy, or tired? Truckers are required to take rest periods, but not breaks. They don’t have to pull over and stretch every so many miles or hours. It often makes them feel as though they can’t do it without compromising their job.
There was a recent spike in trucking demands from COVID-19, with everyone ordering online for delivery. That spike is causing many people to think differently about truckers, but not so much what can be done about the matter of accidents.
Sleepy Truckers Among the Top Causes for Trucking Accidents
The unrealistic schedules and the demands placed on each person make it extremely reasonable for truckers to be sleepy. Some turn up the radio, and others take no-doze. Still, drowsy driving is among the top reasons for trucking accidents. Then the truckers pay the bill as independent contractors, and the companies walk away clean.
Sleep issues are just the beginning for these truckers; about 13% of trucking accidents involve sleep issues as the primary factor. The issue of driving and being alert at one activity for so long is that you can’t just go to sleep.
Figure if you drive for 14 hours, the maximum, then take eight hours off, which means you did not get eight hours of sleep. Your mind can’t relax fast enough, recover from the sugar and caffeine fast enough to knock out right away. Even if you take ten hours off, it’s unlikely that you would get a full “night” of rest, which arises the next trucking issue. Many sleep during the times of heaviest traffic, the early morning and the late afternoon.
It’s not a reasonable way to manage a work schedule. Trucking companies get away with it because most of them employ truckers as independent contractors. They claim to give their truckers the freedom to build their own schedule as long as they meet delivery deadlines. However, they arrange the delivery deadlines and pickups in a way that gets the maximum miles out of the driver.
Calling a Richmond Truck Accident Attorney
Trucking accidents happen, and while the truckers often are overworked, it doesn’t excuse them from accidents. The crashes that truckers cause could be their responsibility, or it could fall to the liability of the company. It is absolutely vital that you involve a Richmond truck accident law firm. Having an attorney allows you to access expert witnesses, strategically plan out your case, and more.
Call CAIL. Our Richmond attorney helps people file lawsuits or claims against truckers or companies in the trucking industry. With years of experience, we are pleased to stand up to high-powered legal teams that try to push around the victims of a crash.