The law generally holds commercial drivers to a higher standard than people licensed to operate passenger vehicles only. Commercial drivers typically have to go through additional educational courses, carry much higher insurance policies and comply with strict behavioral rules.
Despite all of the laws and protections created to reduce commercial trucking crashes, commercial truck drivers can and do still cause serious and even fatal collisions. All too often, these crashes would have been preventable if the driver hadn’t succumbed to the same kind of bad driving behaviors that people in passenger vehicles often display.
Boredom and loneliness can lead to phone-related distraction
Driving for 10 or 12 hours a day is not easy work. Not only can it be physically and mentally exhausting, but it is also socially isolating. Commercial drivers often find themselves feeling lonely because they lack connection with their loved ones. They may also get bored, as driving can be a monotonous task when conditions on the road are good.
A bored commercial driver might pick up their phone and either try to call a loved one, send a text message or even check in on social media. Despite the dangers involved in these behaviors and federal rules that prohibit texting or manual phone use by commercial drivers at the wheel, it does still happen and can contribute to significant collisions.
Commercial drivers get behind the wheel when overly tired or sick
Like people working in many professions, commercial truck drivers often don’t have the luxury of calling in sick every time they come down with a cold or have a particularly bad allergy flare-up.
They also probably have to go to work even if they were up all night with a colicky baby or due to chronic insomnia. Both exhaustion and illness can limit someone’s ability to safely drive and drastically increase the likelihood of a crash.
Commercial drivers break the rules of the road by driving drunk and speeding
Despite undoubtedly knowing how dangerous their vehicle could be in a crash, commercial drivers still make choices that can put other people at risk. Some drivers might get a sudden call from their employer during their day off and decide that they’re probably sober enough to pick up a load.
Despite knowing that drunk driving is dangerous, commercial drivers might feel like they have the skill or experience to get behind the wheel after drinking. They may also feel overly confident about exceeding the posted speed limit, which might mean they can’t stop in time. When truck drivers make bad decisions and hurt others, their victims can potentially hold them accountable.