If you look up trucking companies online, you will find that many of them have slogans and marketing campaigns that attempt to convince other people that safety is their number one priority. However, these same companies will also turn around and offer their workers incentive pay to make on-time deliveries no matter what and offer clients promises about guaranteed delivery without any regard for issues like traffic conditions or inclement weather.
Trucking company policies can play a contributing role in collisions between commercial vehicles and smaller passenger vehicles. The three following examples are ways that truck companies systemically undermine safety on the road and potentially contribute to the catastrophic crashes that commercial vehicles sometimes cause.
Companies hold their drivers to impossible deadlines
Stressed-out, overworked and exhausted truck drivers are far more dangerous to the public than properly rested truckers who can confidently drive at a safe speed without worrying about it impacting their pay. Some companies will pay a premium price for on-time delivery or calculate quarterly or monthly bonuses based on how many late arrivals a driver has.
When their income is at risk, truck drivers might choose to do things they know they should not, such as exceed the speed limit, drive on roads not built for commercial traffic or drive when they feel too tired to do so safely because they need to get the delivery there before they can rest.
Truck companies don’t invest enough in underride guards
Some of the worst commercial vehicle crashes occur when a smaller passenger vehicle ends up sliding underneath a larger commercial vehicle. With the installation and maintenance of underride guards both on the rear of any trailer that a truck pulls and on the sides of the trailer, it would be possible to drastically reduce these often fatal crashes.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies will simply install the cheapest possible guards and will not maintain or update them. Quite a few trucking companies won’t install side underride guards at all because the government does not require them.
Trucking companies flex their standards in order to retain enough staff
Commercial driving is dangerous and can put people at real risk if done improperly. A company that employs commercial drivers for their fleet should only hire the best and most skilled drivers who are physically capable of performing the job and who do not have any record of impaired driving or substance abuse.
With increased demand for domestic shipping comes more competitive hiring practices. Trucking companies can struggle to retain the best and most skilled drivers. Some may struggle to retain enough staff just to keep their clients satisfied. In order to keep their vehicles on the road, these companies may compromise their standards for drivers, hiring people who are not as safe as they should be.