In 2008, nearly 124,000 tractor trailers were involved in "accidents." Of those accidents, almost 50,000 of them resulted in 74,000 injuries. The most staggering statistic is that, of those crashes involving fatalities, 98% of the fatalities occurred in the passenger vehicle ? not the truck.
While most of us are quick to point fingers at the truck drivers, the truth is, the government steps in the last few years to track driver safety, and get unsafe drivers off the road. So what are some of the reasons why tractor-trailer accidents are such a problem nationally and in Georgia?
Imagine a bus company trying to earn your travel business. As you research the bus company, you realize they are paying their drivers by the mile. On top of that, they are paying them by the "short mile", which is essentially the shortest distance between point A and point B, with no regard for whether the bus can safely and efficiently travel that route. Would you ever buy a ticket on that bus? This is exactly how most trucking companies utilize this exact model to pay their drivers.
This "pay per mile" system transfers all the risk of the trucking company's freight costs to its drivers. Was there a lot of traffic, or weather issues, which required a longer trip than planned? The trucking company does not care because they aren't paying by the hour. The driver suffers. Was there a lot of construction on one route, requiring the driver to drive extra miles to avoid it? That's ok, because the trucking company is paying according to "short miles", so the driver has to eat the costs of any extra miles. By most industry estimates, paying by short miles actually shortchanges the driver up to 10% of his actual route miles.
This compensation system forces truck drivers to cut corners, make up time (speed), and often falsify log books (that track their time on the road to comply with mandatory downtime), just to be able to earn money on their routes. If a bus company paid its drivers this way, you would never ride with that company because of the obvious safety risks that system creates. Unfortunately, you don't have the choice of avoiding most trucking companies ? their drivers are in the lanes around us every day. This compensation system is just one of many things trucking companies do that demonstrate their willingness to place people in harm's way for financial gain. It's also a reason why most trucking accidents are not accidents at all!
Check back for the second installment discussing why most trucking accidents are not trucking accidents, and if you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact a skilled Georgia Trucking Accident Attorney as soon as possible to preserve important evidence that can make the difference between fair compensation, and being stonewalled by the trucking companies.