In an ideal world, a semi-truck driver would never feel any outside pressure to do anything other than driving as safely as possible. They would understand that they were in control of an 80,000-pound vehicle that could cause significant injuries if involved in a crash. Their number one priority would be arriving at their destination safely.
And many trucking companies will tell you that this is what their goal is, but it actually is far different. Their real goal is simply production. They want to be as productive as possible and they are constantly worried about the bottom line. This focus on getting as much work done as possible, rather than being as safe as possible, can pressure drivers into making mistakes, taking risks and causing serious accidents.
Paying by the mile
One example of how companies do this is that they’ll decide to pay their drivers by the mile. A driver who is stuck in a traffic jam for an hour would not be paid for that hour, as they weren’t covering any distance.
But the problem this creates is twofold; first of all, a driver who feels like they are losing money in slow traffic may drive aggressively or break the speed limit to try to make up that time.
Secondly, a driver who is looking to increase their earnings will know that the only way to do it is to cover more miles. And, of course, the best way to cover a greater distance is simply to drive faster, even if it’s unsafe to do so in current conditions.
What are your options?
You can see how this outside pressure may make an otherwise safe truck driver into a risk on the road. If you have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, be sure you know what legal options you have.