Home Blog Truck Accident Drowsy Truckers and Other Signs of a Broken Trucking System

Drowsy Truckers and Other Signs of a Broken Trucking System

By Eugene Bruno on March 15, 2024

Have you ever glanced at a seemingly tired semi-truck driver, hoping he wouldn’t drift into your lane? Or visited the San Diego Port and observed the number of trucks carrying shipping containers in and out of the facility? Truckers and their massive vehicles are a normal part of life that many people take for granted. They are also are a crucial and often exploited part of the transportation network that fuels our economy. Importantly, their working conditions can also affect your safety on the road.

The Value of Trucking to San Diego’s Economy

Trucking is currently the “predominant mode of transportation” for California’s freight shipments, according to State metrics. Trucks transport the largest share of goods into and out of the state. In a recent year, the cost of freight moved by California truckers was valued at $1.2 trillion.

The Port of San Diego brings in nearly 3 million tons of cargo each year, loaded on trucks to arrive at its destination. The cargo includes oversized freight as the Port is a primary point of shipping entry for foreign car companies such as Honda, Fiat, Audi, Volkswagen, and Nissan.

Common Exploitive Practices in the Trucking Industry

Despite their importance to the state and local economy, truck drivers are often exploited in ways that not only affect their livelihood but also endanger others. Some issues include:

  • Long hours. Truckers work 60 to 70 hours a week and are away from home for long periods.
  • Tight deadlines at the risk of safety. Drivers are sometimes asked to keep driving to make an on-time delivery, even when they’ve exceeded their allowed daily driving time.
  • Low Pay. Drivers may be paid by the hour or by delivery mile. Wages sit around 50 to 60 cents per mile but can be as low as 35 cents a mile.
  • Defective equipment. In some cases, company vehicles are not maintained to standard, posing potential hazards during long trips.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle. The long hours on the road may lead to the use of stimulants or other unhealthy solutions to stay awake.

Economic Factors May Cause Undue Pressure on Drivers

You might ask why truckers continue to drive under such dangerous conditions. While each person may differ, interviews and informal studies have found that many are concerned about meeting deadlines for economic reasons. Newer drivers have also noted they were concerned they might lose their jobs if they didn’t follow orders.

The Shortcomings of Industry Regulation

Deregulation of the shipping industry began when President Jimmy Carter signed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. Before that, all trucking was heavily unionized and government-controlled, prices were generally fixed, and entrance into the field was complicated.

Since the law, the number of shipping companies, particularly non-union carriers, has expanded dramatically. Many truck drivers have expressed frustration with deregulation; large, growing companies have prevented drivers from unionizing for higher pay. Some truckers also feel they are being “miscategorized” as independent contractors, thereby stripping them of benefits available to ordinary employees.

Trucking Accident in San Diego? Call Eugene Bruno & Associates

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident involving a truck, you need the support of an experienced San Diego truck accident attorney to help you win your case. Eugene Bruno & Associates has helped countless clients achieve justice. Our reviews speak for themselves. Call us at (619) 209-6066 to discuss your case, free of charge.

Posted in: Truck Accident