The Fatal Five

  • The Fatal Five

    The Fatal Five

    The commercial transportation industry has been struggling for over a decade to backfill the exodus of qualified drivers from its ranks.  A study commissioned by The American Truck Association reported in 2005 a driver shortage of around 20,000.  A great-recession and 11 years later, the number has nearly doubled to 38,000.  Many factors compound to create a complex national problem.  Could you be at risk of joining those numbers and not even know it?

    Throughout the great-recession there was no doubt owner-operators felt the squeeze and may have exited the industry all together, never to return.  Once gainful employment was found in another industry, it was hard to break back into what seemed like a financially treacherous trucking industry.

    Baby boomers are also exiting the industry to the detriment of the profession.  An entire generation of skilled workers who spent decades with their noses to the grindstone is passing the torch to a generation who expects shorter hours, higher pay and employers who cater to an their needs.

    Regardless of the generational divide, long hours and time away from home, trucking wears on driver’s ability to maintain longevity.  Commercial driving is still thankfully one of the remaining industries which can provide a decent wage to a dedicated and skilled driver.

    The climate within the commercial transportation industry has undoubtedly changed as well.  Companies must be able to sufficiently navigate the regulation and red-tape associated with local, state and federal regulations in order to ensure compliance.

    The quickest way for drivers to get bounced from the industry is failure to comply with the most critical regulations effecting a commercial driver: safe driving.

    Commercial motor vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to the “Fatal 5 Violations”.  One or multiple of these violations have been found to be present in nearly every serious injury and fatal traffic crash, and that’s why the use of a car accident lawyer in Tampa is useful in these cases.  The troubling fact is that every one of these violations are completely preventable.

    Driving Under the Influence
    This is a no-brainer.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200… in fact, pay a few thousand dollars, then find yourself disqualified.
    Since the advent of the ‘hardship license’ which gives a DUI suspended driver a license to operate for work related purposes, there’s a common misunderstanding how the licenses can be used.  Simply put, the ‘hardship license’ cannot be issued to operate a commercial motor vehicle which requires a CDL to operate.

    Improper lane use
    Improper lane usage by commercial vehicles is often a complaint of the motoring public.  Most officers understand keeping an 8-foot 6-inch wide truck within a 10-12 foot wide lane can be difficult at times, but meandering too far from your lane or unsafely passing is inexcusable unless in an emergency situation.

    Following too closely
    This is risky business.  Undoubtedly, those pesky four-wheelers will pull out in front of a commercial vehicle. If given even the smallest gap, and factoring in brake lag on air braking systems and reduced stopping ability, following too closely is asking for trouble.

    Speed
    Speed kills. Enough said.  Seen those billboards lately?  Commercial motor vehicle drivers convicted of two speeding violations within a three-year period have their CDL disqualified and justifiably so.  Speeding increases stopping distance and potential damage in a crash, because the faster one drives the further he is going to travel during the same time, so the use of legal aid from resources as the Cossé Law Firm would be really helpful when solving out cases like this.

    Cell phone use
    Mobile phones have been unlawful at both the state and federal level for years.  Unless being used hands free, drivers are committing a serious traffic violation when they choose to text or talk on a hand-held phone while driving.  Some debate the merits of these laws, but study after study shows distracted drivers are more prone to traffic crashes.

    The trucking industry suffers enough from the exodus of skilled retiring drivers, regulation compliance and retention of Gen-Y drivers. Don’t allow your commercial driver’s license to be the next preventable factor in the growing shortage of experienced drivers.

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