The Factors That Contribute to Colorado Commercial Truck Accidents
There are almost two million long-haul truckers in the United States. In 2017, the trucking industry in Colorado provided 110,200 jobs, or 1 out of 20 in the state. Over the last forty years, their working conditions have changed dramatically.
Thanks to declines in union membership, loss of collective bargaining power, driver shortages, and federal rulemaking, truckers often have less control over their working conditions than they used to have and may be at a higher risk for accidents than they used to be.
Factors that contribute to commercial truck accidents include the following:
- Physical and psychological stress caused by tight deadlines, limited control over working conditions, extended time away from home, social isolation, and lack of access to healthcare.
- Excessive fatigue caused by long hours, frequent work shifts, poor quality of sleep, and sleep disorders that result in loss of concentration, reduced alertness, and slower reaction times. One study found that long-haul drivers who drive on a schedule of 13 hours per day are getting as few as 3.83 hours of sleep a night.
- The expectations of employers, which include tight deadlines and a fast work pace. About 70 percent of long-haul truckers are paid according to the number of miles driven. They drive nearly 3,000 miles each week and work 21 or more days each month.
- Poor health caused by lack of exercise, smoking, and high blood pressure. Long-haul truckers have a disproportionately high rate of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and depression.
- Avoidable and unavoidable risks to safety, including failure to use seat belts, improper truck maintenance, and driving in dangerous weather conditions. According to a survey of truckers conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24 percent of the respondents often drive in bad weather.
- Inadequate training, a problem cited by 38 percent of the truckers who participated in the CDC survey. Because the weight and size of their vehicles often make maneuvering difficult, proper training for long-haul truckers is essential.
- Distracted driving: eating, talking on the phone, and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (including prescribed drugs). Distracted driving can be particularly dangerous in the case of long-haul truckers, since their vehicles cause more damage when an accident occurs.
These factors result in many bad consequences, including crashes. The CDC found that 35 percent of drivers reported being involved in at least one accident during their career. The hazards impose a financial burden on trucking and warehousing companies, governments, healthcare systems, other motorists, and the truckers themselves.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a long-haul truck driver, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen online or call (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation.