Semi trucks in use

2022 Forecast for the Trucking Industry and the Safety Implications of More Large Trucks on the Road

As backlogged supply chains generate shortages in materials and parts, demand for moving freight across the U.S. is high. From retailers keeping shelves stocked to manufacturers sourcing raw materials, businesses are currently paying a premium to get products where they need to go. Rather than shipping goods by train, which is more fuel-efficient and economical, companies are “booking trucks on the spot.”  As a result, large truck capacity is tight and expected to remain so through 2022.  Adding to the situation are e-commerce sales, truck equipment shortages, and a struggling labor market.  Finding enough drivers to meet demand has been difficult for already under-pressure trucking companies. Rising freight volume translates to an increase in the number of large trucks on

Do you agree that truckers are professional drivers?

Truckers are supposed to be professional drivers. I know this because I’ve worked on truck crash lawsuits for more than 30 years. Yet, the lawyers on the other side—the insurance company attorneys— almost always object. They accuse me of holding a truck driver to “too high of a standard.” They also regularly object to proposing that a jury consider a higher standard of care during a trial. In response, I point out the required qualification of commercial drivers and the fact that they are indeed professionals. What makes a trucker a professional driver? What is a “professional”? Essentially, a person duly qualified in some field by virtue of special knowledge, experience and sometimes, a license. A professional provides services in exchange for

Off-tracking truck: how rear tires can crush pedestrians

What is off-tracking? Off-tracking truck:  Rear wheels take a different, shorter path than the front wheels when the semi-truck is turning or cornering. We might think of it as “cutting the corner” of a turn. I have seen this before, with a client who was run over by the back wheels of a semi-truck turning the corner. I saw it again very recently, as Coluccio Law handled a case involving the tragic death of a truck driver who was assisting another driver at a truck stop. A father killed by off-tracking truck  Truck stops in some areas are often very busy and overcrowded. (We have discussed truck parking as a safety issue). On a cold, rainy evening in February, my client’s father, a commercial

The link between truck driver pay and the risk of a crash

Micheal Belzer, an economics professor at Wayne State University, recently published a study showing a strong correlation between truck driver pay and road safety. In this article,  Truck drivers are overtired, underworked, and underpaid, he explains his findings. The data suggest that economic factors affecting drivers contribute significantly to truck crashes. A link between truck driver pay and safety Long-haul commercial truckers are paid per mile. They don’t get paid for time spent at the loading dock—and that can be a lot of hours. Because shippers aren’t paying for the truckers’ time, they don’t have a direct financial incentive to load and unload the cargo as quickly as possible. 15 minutes of excessive delay time increases the average expected crash rate by 6.2 percent. Truckers

Trucker in fatal crash an “imminent hazard to public safety”

On the evening of November 9th,  2016 a semi-truck struck an Oregon man on I-84 in Idaho. The State Police reported that 24-year-old Matthew Martin, of Ontario, Oregon, had hit a guardrail. His Toyota ended up in the center lane. He exited the car and was hit by a semi-truck. Martin later died in an Idaho hospital. The semi-truck— a 2012 commercial Freightliner—was operated by Idaho truck driver Justin Dennis. Initially, the media coverage of this story sounds like a simple “accident”: two drivers in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, the FMCSA news release tells a different story—and we know that most crashes aren’t “accidents”. This week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared Dennis an

It’s time for better drug tests for truckers

Trucking companies must drug-test all applicants when hiring truck drivers. A driver must be tested again if he or she is involved in a truck accident crash that results in a serious injury or fatality. Those results are shared with The Department of Transportation (DOT), which regulates the trucking industry. Currently, The Department of Transportation (DOT) only accepts urine tests as drug tests for truckers. Last week, The Drug Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015 was introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill would allow the DOT to recognize hair sample drug tests for truckers. Why we need new drug tests for truckers Urinalysis not very effective in detecting drug use: it only detects drugs used


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