Do Truck Companies Pressure Drivers to Break the Law?
What You Need to Know
- Trucking companies often pressure their drivers to break federal law in an effort to maximize company profits.
- Companies can get away with this manipulation because many drivers only make a living wage after they work an extreme amount of overtime.
- Overworking drivers and forcing them to break other safety regulations increases the chance of a deadly truck wreck and puts everyone at risk on the road.
- Innocent victims injured in a crash with a big truck have legal options that may be able to provide financial compensation. Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to learn more.
The Most Common Trucking Safety Violations
Like most businesses, trucking companies’ primary goal is to make a profit. But even among profit-driven companies, some trucking carriers can be especially ruthless and callous in search of more money. The trucking industry is notorious for pushing drivers to break the law in order to maximize company profits.
Some of the most common violations include:
- Forcing drivers to drive excessive hours each week in violation of hours of service rules (sometimes in excess of 20 hours a day)
- Pressuring drivers to skip safety inspections
- Implicitly and explicitly asking drivers to speed
These same trucking companies also spend a lot of time and money lobbying against regulations and reforms that would make the trucking industry safer. For example, digital logs that automatically track hours of service would prevent companies from forcing drivers to violate HOS rules, and on-board speed limiting devices would cap truck speeds at safe levels. But negligent trucking companies would rather maximize their short-term profits than worry about the safety of their drivers and others on the road.
Why Do Companies Pressure Employees to Break the Law?
You might wonder why drivers don’t just say “no” when an employer asks them to do something illegal. In reality, it’s not so easy for truckers.
Many truck drivers operate as contractors and owe thousands of dollars on their truck’s lease. After paying vehicle expenses, their paychecks don’t leave them with enough money to take care of their families back home. Trucking companies understand this reality and use it as leverage, forcing drivers to break the law and put innocent people’s lives at risk. By withholding fair pay, companies can manipulate drivers.
Bad trucking companies also often hire inexperienced and undertrained drivers. Many of these new drivers don’t have the experience and confidence to push back against unlawful orders from their employer. Some of these drivers aren’t even trained well enough to know that what they’re being asked to do is illegal.
Safety Violations Put Innocent Lives at Risk
The safety regulations that govern the trucking industry are based on extensive research and effort from highway safety experts. For example, hours of service regulations help fight truck driver fatigue and drowsy driving, both of which have been identified in government research as common causes of deadly truck crashes.
In 2017, nearly 5,000 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. The same year, 54% of crashes involved speeding of some kind, and distraction was the second most common contributing factor to crashes after speeding. These high rates of distraction and speeding occur because trucking companies continually push drivers to shave time off routes and drive excessively long hours — even when doing so violates laws and regulations.
Hurt in a Truck Crash? Call Seattle Truck Law for Help
Trucking safety violations cause countless accidents on Washington roads each year. If you or someone you love is suffering after an accident with a large truck, you deserve answers and justice.
At Seattle Truck Law, our priority is getting justice for victims just like you. We know how to investigate and litigate the most complex trucking cases, and we can uncover the hidden violations that companies do their best to keep secret.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2019, May 6). Large truck and bus crash facts 2017. Washington, D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2017#A4
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.