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Unsafe Trucks: How the Trucking Industry Puts Profits over Public Safety

Commercial trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and require a great deal of skill and caution to safely operate. Unfortunately, many trucking companies put profits over public safety. But you don’t have to accept that. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, we encourage you to reach out to our truck accident attorneys. The Doan Law Firm can evaluate your case for free. Call our Houston truck accident legal experts today to request your free consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Why Profits Drive Trucking Companies to Take Risks with Safety

Trucking is a competitive industry. There are many companies that compete for business, often promising faster deliveries. The faster they can deliver goods, the more money they stand to make. Trucking companies mimic this model with the pay structure they offer truck drivers, who are typically paid by the mile. Therefore, the more miles the trucker logs, the more pay they receive, so truck drivers are just as incentivized to rush deliveries as the companies that employ them. Trucking companies may also set strict deadlines, which further increases drivers to take other safety risks in order to meet these tight deadlines.

Ways Trucking Companies Prioritize Profits Over Safety

Trucking companies increase their financial gain by encouraging speeding and driving beyond federal limits, ignoring vital safety procedures, and skipping necessary steps that are put in place to protect other motorists. When trucking companies and the drivers they hire to deliver their goods prioritize profits over safety, other people’s lives are put in danger.

Some of the most common ways trucking companies prioritize profits over safety include:


Trucking companies may consciously or subconsciously encourage speeding by rewarding truck drivers for making deliveries faster. Truckers are paid by the mile, so the more miles they can log, the greater the amount of money they stand to make. Some trucking companies even offer financial incentives to drivers who make their deliveries early.

Even when trucking companies do not explicitly encourage speeding, truck drivers may feel compelled to drive faster to meet strict deadlines.

Driving Beyond Federal Hours of Service Limits

Truck drivers may drive for longer periods than they are legally allowed as a way to get their deliveries made ahead of schedule. This can be dangerous because of the known risks of fatigued driving. The National Sleep Foundation says that driving after 20 hours of no sleep is like driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, and driving after 24 hours of sleep is like driving with a BAC of 0.10%. At these levels, drivers are likely to experience effects such as delayed reaction times, decreased hand-eye coordination, impaired depth perception, difficulty maintaining concentration, impaired judgment, difficulty recognizing hazards, increased likelihood of falling asleep behind the wheel, and blurred vision. These impairments dramatically increase the likelihood of an accident.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes these inherent risks of driving while fatigued, so it has implemented the hours of service rules. These rules prohibit a truck driver from driving more than 14 consecutive hours after a minimum of 10 hours off duty. Additionally, truck drivers cannot drive more than 60 hours in a 7-day window or 70 hours in an 8-day window. There are also rules about when truckers must take breaks and how much time they can spend “on-duty.”

Despite these laws, many truck drivers continue to drive while fatigued. Some trucking companies have even been known to encourage drivers to break these laws and doctor their books to look like they are complying with them.

Driving Under the Influence

Driver fatigue can prevent truckers from meeting their deadlines, so some drivers turn to stimulants to stay awake. However, driving under the influence can be extremely dangerous, potentially resulting in fatal and catastrophic accidents.

Hiring Unqualified or Disqualified Drivers

Trucking companies may prioritize profits over safety by hiring drivers who are unqualified or disqualified, such as drivers who:

  • Do not have a CDL or a necessary endorsement
  • Are not experienced
  • Have not had proper training
  • Have recently tested positive for alcohol or drugs
  • Have safety-related traffic violations
  • Have a criminal history that prohibits them from the job

Neglecting Maintenance

Trucking companies or drivers are not being paid when the vehicle is being repaired or maintained, which might encourage them to skip necessary repairs.

Skipping Inspections

Truck drivers are supposed to complete an inspection on the vehicle before they start a new trip and periodically during transit. This is to identify any potential mechanical issues and ensure the load is properly secured. When they skip these inspections in the interest of meeting tight delivery deadlines, avoidable accidents can occur.

Contact Us Today for a Free Case Review

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, the Houston truck accident attorneys at The Doan Law Firm can help. Call us today for a free consultation.

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