Our economy depends on the almost-immediate delivery of goods across the country. Consumers are used to things like overnight delivery and being able to find just about anything at a store on any given day. This environment has put enormous pressure on transportation companies to be fast and efficient.
However, there is efficient and then there is unsafe. The difference between these two motivations can have an enormous impact on both workers in industries like commercial trucking and the motorists who share the road with them. Sadly, too many companies are crossing that line into unsafe by coercing truckers to drive when drowsy.
There are strict federal regulations in place that limit on how long a trucker can be on the job. These regulations, called Hours of Service regulations, specify the number of consecutive hours a trucker can be behind the wheel, when he or she must rest and when he or she must be off duty.
But these regulations are only effective if they are enforced, which isn't always happening. As noted in this National Law Review article, trucking companies across the country are actually coercing their drivers to violate HOS regulations. They do things like threaten termination for people who don't violate the rules and reward drivers who do in order to get truckers to drive longer than is legally allowed.
This means that drivers are being encouraged to drive while drowsy or resort to using dangerous substances to stay awake to arrive at a destination faster. Whether a driver falsifies a driving record on his or her own or an employer has implied that such behavior is favorable, truckers who operate outside the HOS regulations can be a serious hazard on the road.
Because this is such a serious and avoidable problem, it is crucial that injured motorists or their families take legal action in the aftermath of a truck accident caused by a drowsy trucker. Holding these dangerous drivers - and their employers - responsible for bad behaviors and legal violations can send a message to others that such actions will not be ignored.