There are certainly semi-truck accidents that occur because drivers simply make mistakes, as happens with accidents exclusively involving passenger cars all the time. A driver could fail to brake soon enough to stop before causing a rear-end accident, for example, or they could merge into the side of a vehicle that is in their blind spot if they don’t properly check their blind spots first.
But it’s also important to remember professional drivers are usually very good at what they do. In some cases, the accidents they are involved in actually stem from outside pressures that they’re facing while they work. As a result, the trucking company that employs them may be responsible for some or all of the harm that results from a particular collision.
Being paid by the mile
For example, truck drivers are often paid by the mile. If a truck driver is stuck in traffic or sitting at a warehouse waiting for the truck to be loaded, but they are not earning money. They may feel that the only way to recoup these lost earnings is to drive longer than they should or to drive faster than they should. Both of these can be dangerous decisions, but the financial pressure is real and can influence the risk of a crash.
The pressure of productivity
As in many industries, productivity is very important in the trucking industry. This is actually part of the reason that truck drivers are paid by the mile. It encourages them to work hard and companies are only paying directly for that productivity.
However, this could also lead to complicated situations wherein drivers feel pressure to do things that they know are unsafe. Say that the driver has a deadline they have to meet, but they’re feeling fatigued while driving at night. Are they going to pull over and rest or just continue driving to their destination? In some cases, trucking companies may even pressure drivers to stay on the road for too long, violating regulations concerning mandatory breaks, because they don’t want to miss a deadline.
All of these pressures can make the aftermath of a trucking accident very complicated when determining who is at fault and when injury victims are seeking compensation. Those who have been injured need to be sure that they know about all of the options they have when pursuing justice. Working with an experienced attorney can help to facilitate that consequential goal.