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How does time spent loading increase a trucker’s accident rate?

Car AccidentsNews   January 28, 2019

One of the problems with trucking, as a profession, is that it can get tedious. Long hours on the road at least afford truckers a change of scenery, however. Long hours spent loading and unloading a truck’s cargo, on the other hand, are just … well, long hours.

Researchers have discovered a troubling link between the amount of time that a trucker has to spend at either the shipping or receiving points with a load and his or her accident rate. The more “detention time” a trucker has to deal with, the higher that trucker’s accident rate is likely to rise. Detention time is defined as anything beyond the industry’s “rule of thumb” of a two-hour wait on each end is considered “detention time.”

Why would detention time relate to accident time? It has to do with the way that contracts are written between truckers and shippers (or trucking companies and shippers). The two-hour window is anticipated — so it’s calculated into the overall price of the contract. Anything more is lost time on the road — which means it is also money out of a trucker’s pocket.

Somewhat naturally, when faced with long detention times that eat into their profits, truckers do one of two things: They either speed up to make the trip faster or they drive while they’re fatigued so they can make up their lost time by not taking breaks. Both choices can lead to disaster.

Industry-wide, experts estimate that an extra 15-minutes at the loading or unloading point increase the chances a driver will be involved in a wreck by 6.2 percent. And it only gets worse from there.

Truck accidents are unlike regular car accidents in numerous ways — not the least of which is their size and scope. The injuries to victims are also often much more serious than you find in regular car accidents. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, find out more about your legal rights as soon as possible — before you speak with the truck company’s insurance agent.