The Deadly Effects of Truckers Speeding to Make Their Deadlines
Whether you live here or are just visiting, it doesn’t take long to realize that Texas is overrun by commercial trucks. As a result of the state’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Texas is home to more than a dozen high-valued ports on the southeast border alone. These ports harbor billions of dollars and millions of tons’ worth of cargo every year, and all of it is expected to be delivered promptly across the nation.
As you may have guessed, this wide-scale transportation is facilitated by trucks…lots of trucks. Unfortunately, this means a lot of truck traffic and a lot of truckers driving toward a deadline, instead of driving for safety.
Deadlines Encourage Speeding
Speed limit laws put a cap of 65 mph for trucks on highways. While that sounds reasonable, the high demand for just-in-time delivery within the shipping business pushes both transportation companies and independent truckers to ignore the laws. For some truck drivers, speeding has become a virtual requirement in order to retain a job.
Typically, inducements for speeding focus around money. Some of the most important pressures include:
- Load pay limitations. Some truckers feel the pressure to speed to get their loads in on time. This desire to drive faster is motivated by their shipping company’s decision to pay on a load-by-load basis. Rather than being paid for the hours spent on the road, truckers will get paid a percentage of the delivery payment; in other words, each delivery is worth a flat payment, with no compensation for time spent sleeping or for rest breaks. To maximize their incomes, truckers are compelled to drop off the cargo as quickly as possible and begin another run almost immediately. This pushes truckers into breaking the speed limit law and consequently placing others at risk, all for a better paycheck.
- Deadline pay incentives. A trucker’s income is dependant on his ability to haul large loads in a short time period. If truckers are able to travel more miles in a shorter period of time, hitting or exceeding their deadlines, they are more likely to be requested for jobs and stand to make more money. Some companies even offer modest bonuses for early delivery, increasing the temptation to speed.
- Mileage pay incentives. When truck drivers are able to travel more miles in a shorter time period, then they technically make more money on that haul. For example, say two truckers must deliver loads that are both 2,000 miles away. Once the loads are delivered, they will each stand to make $1,000. Trucker A follows the speed limits, takes routine breaks, and follows the hours-of-service regulations. He arrives at his destination three and a half days later after actively driving for 30 hours. Trucker B ignores break times and averages about 80 mph on the highway. He reaches his destination two and half days later with a driving time of 25 hours. Therefore, by following the rules, trucker A made approximately $33.33 an hour (less if you factor in his time spent resting). However, by breaking the rules and dangerously speeding, trucker B not only made $40 an hour but also freed his schedule to pick up another job in the day he saved. By speeding, truckers can fit more paying loads into the same amount of time, and make a considerably greater amount of money—even though it is reckless and potentially hazardous to themselves and others.
Deadlines and Dead Motorists
Making more money is generally a good thing, but when it comes at the cost of safety, we truly have to examine our understanding of how truck drivers operate. Most independent owner-operators spend a total of 44 hours a week unpaid in their cab, and this down time is the very incentive to speed in order to make more loads in less time. Unfortunately, the drive for an increase in money also raises the risks for causing a catastrophic accident, making you pay for a trucker’s poor decisions.
Government regulations has been the backbone of our approach to controlling speeding. It hasn’t worked as well as we might wish. Even today, the recent talk about requiring electronic control modules in trucks offers only an uncertain promise in decreasing the number of truckers who regularly speed.
Revving Up Your Claim’s Success
If you or someone you know has recently been injured in a truck accident, you’ll need help in order to file an injury claim successfully. First off, you can expect the driver’s insurance company to pass your claim by or push it into the slow lane. You don’t have to stand for that. Your recovery depends on the steady advancement of a settlement, and attorney Steve Lee is here to make sure it has the chance to do so, without being stymied by insurance adjusters looking to save a buck or two.
Contact our office today to see how we can help you bypass the insurance drama and accelerate your claim’s success. Give us the green light to help you by calling 713-921-4171 or 800-232-3711, or by filling out our conveniently provided contact form.