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Safety Training for Truck Drivers - A Necessity

As they contest major cases, truck accident injury attorneys, those who devote the majority of their personal injury practices to truck accidents, wisely drill down on drivers’ experience and training. Attorneys have the numbers to drag the industry’s best-kept secret into the plain light of day: Most truckers are more than adequately trained in operation and maintenance of their vehicles, but they are frighteningly untrained in the profession’s best safety practices. Truck accident attorneys stress that long-haul safety depends far more on drivers’’ consciousness and attitude as much as their skills. Moreover, truck accident attorneys contend big carriers often reward their drivers for recklessness instead of safety. Almost all truck accident injury attorneys and law firms argue, more and better safety training programs would dramatically reduce accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities on America’s roadways

Economics influence safety-training programs
Whereas government and industry initiatives have improved the quality and frequency of drivers’ safety training, tractor-trailers still tangle in more than half-a-million serious accidents every year; and experts conservatively estimate improved safety training could have prevented or mitigated the consequences of at least two-thirds of those collisions. The exigencies of America’s dependence on trucks, however, encourage even the most safety-conscious companies to accelerate or skip safety training for the sake of getting new drivers on the road.

Major trucking companies recognize safety-training costs more “up front” but deliver huge return on investment over time, because reduced accident rates immediately translate to reduced insurance costs, improved on-time performance, and dramatically reduced legal costs. Accountants and actuaries put the statistical evidence behind common sense, stressing that the cost of one out-of-court settlement easily would cover five years’ routine safety training for drivers companywide.

America’s top 100 trucking companies claim they are victims of economic trends beyond their control. Most significantly, they say they cannot recruit and train new drivers in sufficient numbers to keep up with demand; and most industry officials candidly confess the carriers would rather fast-track drivers through training than let their trucks sit idle. Moreover, many long-distance truckers work only part-time, because childcare and family life preclude their devoting full time to interstate hauls. Hence, they do not gain experience and build judgment as quickly and completely as full-time professional drivers do.

Periodic driver retraining and frequent reinforcement
Naturally, experienced drivers are approximately 70% less likely to cause serious accidents than their rookie colleagues; and they are five times less likely to be involved in fatal accidents than drivers with less than two years’ experience. Hours on the road naturally develop their perceptual and fine-motor skills, building their proficiency with evasive maneuvers and reducing their risk of rollovers. Experienced drivers frequently claim they and their machines have molded and adapted to one another, becoming safer as they become a single unit instead of driver and machine.

Studies clearly have demonstrated, though, experienced drivers require periodic retraining in safety consciousness. The more their driving becomes automatic and reflexive, the less they pay attention to potentially hazardous road and traffic conditions. They simply become over-confident. Experience unfortunately also increases experienced drivers’ susceptibility to road rage, making them prone to aggressive driving behaviors that triple their chances of serious accidents.

Specialized rollover training and practice
Not surprisingly, rollover accidents account for the greatest number of fatalities among commercial drivers; yet they are the most easily preventable. Nearly 90% of rollover accidents result from truck drivers’ miscalculations rather than road hazards or traffic conditions. The geometry and physics of rollover crashes are not especially complicated or difficult; tenth grade geometry students easily can do the calculations. Nevertheless, rollover risks do demand drivers’ attention as they navigate banked turns and sharp curves—especially on on-ramps and exits. One recent study indicated 90% of newly licensed commercial drivers have had less than an hour’s instruction and practice in the dynamics of rollovers. Although driving simulators have become affordable and accessible, most trucking companies do not invest in these simulation devices and therefore driver trainees do not benefit from computer-assisted rollover instruction.

Hire an Experienced Law Firm that Puts Clients First

Because truck accidents generally cause catastrophic injuries and often leave victims permanently impaired or disabled, victims of truck accidents require far greater than usual compensation for their medical care, rehabilitation, and follow-up psychotherapy. Not surprisingly, truck drivers, their employers, and the insurance companies are reluctant to pay victims medical costs. Therefore, victims of truck accidents need an attorney who has prevailed in tough negotiations.

Moreover, if the case goes to trial, accident victims need an attorney that have experience recovering damages from the responsible parties, sending a strong message to trucking companies that the community will not tolerate negligence or recklessness. To learn more about personal injury claims and to find out how you can obtain compensation for the injuries that you have sustained in a truck accident, please feel free to call our firm today for a free consultation of your case.



 

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