A CBS4 investigation has found that truckers blatantly falsify their service logs and stay on the road longer than they’re allowed.
At Bachus & Schanker, LLC we have personally seen the devastating ramifications that semi-truck accidents have on families.
Consider these statistics for 2006 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
4,732 Large Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes
4,995 Fatalities in Crashes Involving Large Trucks
135,741 Large Trucks in Non-Fatal Crashes
57,213 Large Trucks involved in Injury Crashes
85,984 Injuries in Crashes Involving Large Trucks
According to CBS4 reporter Rick Sallinger, truckers told him “cheating is common practice, everybody does it”. He reports, “The Colorado Motor Carriers Association said the vast majority of truckers do not falsify their logs. They say evidence of that are improved safety figures”. What does that really mean? There is an estimated over 3.3 million truck drivers in the U.S. A vast majority could mean any where from 51% to 99.9% don’t falsify their logs. That translates to anywhere from 1.67 million to 33,000 truckers who are falsifying their logs. I don’t find those numbers particularly comforting. It’s kind of like saying Russian Roulette isn’t that dangerous because there aren’t bullets in all of the chambers. I certainly don’t want one of my friends, family or myself driving next to one of the “few” truckers who loses control of his 80,000 pound vehicle due to slower reaction time (compounded by fatigue) to another accident, hazardous road conditions, brake failure, tire blow out, bad or inconsiderate car drivers, moose in the road, or whatever conceivable reason that might occur.
I can’t say that the truckers themselves are totally to blame here. I would argue that most truckers are decent guys (or gals) just trying to make a living. I would argue that the responsibility lies with the trucking companies. By pressuring drivers to deliver their goods on time and with their pay generally based on miles driven not hours driven, drivers are put in a no-win situation.
We need to hit truckers and the trucking companies where it hurts the most, their pocketbooks. Legislators on the state House and Senate transportation committees should consider if penalties should be stiffer. No doubt the rising cost of fuel is putting the squeeze on the trucking companies’ profits, but it seems the trucking companies are putting profit before safety.
How many more people will die this year, until something changes?