Trucking Safety Essay examples

Submitted By vmvalenzuela
Words: 1421
Pages: 6

Trucking Safety
In a Department of Transportation survey, that was published in the U.S. News & World Report, almost 30% of the 18 wheeler truck drivers asked reported falling asleep at the wheel. The 16 hours a day of driving, often totaling more than 70 hours a week, kills an average of 56 motorists a day. (Lavelle, 2008) Today’s roadways are not only perceived by the public to be unsafe, they are unsafe and 18-wheeler trucks are the reason why. Tractor-trailer drivers that do not adhere to the rules of the road often compromise the protection of commuters that drive on US highways. The safety issues that 18-wheeler trucks have introduced to our roadways has become a fatal combination of speed, fatigue and lack of enforcement to the laws; have led to a heightened public awareness of this industry’s problems, sadly at the price of many deaths and injuries. Speed, lack of sleep and disobedience of traffic laws directly affects your safety while sharing the roads with these trucks. There are trucking company policies and federal laws in place that identify load limitations, travel hours, and logbook policies, but they not being adhered to? All of these factors play a role in safety. If trucking laws were created in order to keep roadways safe, why are more than 5000 people per year killed in big-rig accidents (Lavelle, 2008)? The current laws are difficult to enforce, many drivers are inexperienced, the demands of the market press drivers to falsify records, and many drivers of automobiles don’t know how to share the road with big-rigs (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, 200b; Longman, 2007;, date unknown). Revising trucking laws and ensuring that they would be enforced would dramatically increase road safety, but there have to be more incentives for the truckers. Truck load and truck length limits are defined but the recent NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) passed, illegally sized trucks from Canada and Mexico have joined our highways. A truck weighing 80,000 lbs which today is within legal limits, is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than one weighing 50,000 lbs. Current Federal Law limits the expansion of these dangerous double and triple trailer trucks, but Canada has requested the use of American highways for trucks up to 105 ft long. (CRASH, 2009). Statistically, longer and heavier trucks would cause even more deaths on our highways. These deadly factors of the trucking industry should be restricted and the laws strictly enforced. Research suggests that fatigue and lack of sleep is the number one cause of heavy truck crashes. The threat to public safety is sleep deprivation. Tired truck drivers kill or injure roughly 56 people, both motorists and pedestrians, per day in the United States. Current laws permit truckers to drive for ten consecutive hours, which must be followed by an eight hour break. This allows drivers to put in up to 16 hours of driving in single 24 hour day but, the break time doesn’t allow for eight hours of sleep since the driver must find time to eat, as well as time to wind down from the day’s driving. Many drivers run illegally by continuing to drive and not logging their hours (Longman, 2007). Drivers are pressured to do this because of tight deadlines that require they bring their product to market quickly (Lavelle, 2008). Also, many drivers are paid according to mileage. The faster they get to their destination, the sooner they can take on another load, thereby increasing their salary, which is no longer at an appropriate level for the industry. In an article called “Sweatshops on Wheels” Terry Armstrong, a trucker, talks about how she kept fictitious logbooks and drove 80 to 90 hours per week just to bring home $40,000 in one year (Longman, 2007). Another challenge truckers must face is finding a legal place to pull over and sleep when they are tired. Truck stops aren’t always available, nor can every driver afford to stay at them