Driving a truck is a dangerous occupation — and we now have more information about just how dangerous it is. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control showed that 65% of driver fatalities are caused by traffic accidents. 1 in 3 truck drivers who died were not wearing their seatbelts. The CDC report suggests that up to 40% of deaths could have been prevented by wearing seatbelts.
Connecticut Sees Dramatic Drop in Driver Fatalities
Connecticut has seen an impressive drop in the number of driver deaths after they instituted new safety measures that focused more on the driver health. The drop in driver fatalities has been attributed to increased alcohol and drug testing, along with regular medical exams and screening for sleep apnea. In addition, new scheduling measures only allow drivers to drive 11 hours in 24 hours.
New Laws May Not Be the Best Solution
There has been a recent uptick in the number of lawmakers who are pushing for harsher penalities on truck drivers who violate safety regulations, but driver safety issues cannot be totally legislated away. Increasing driver penalties for safety violations may not be the most effective solution to save lives.
Many experts suggest other safety-enhancing measures that help a driver to avoid an accident, rather than simply penalizing him after the fact. Onboard computers are one suggested solution, as is providing wearable technology to help monitor fatigue.
Perhaps the best solution for eliminating fatigue-related accidents?
Increasing driver pay.
Some experts propose paying drivers for their time spent waiting at loading docks. A better-paid driver workforce would be less tempted to take safety risks in order to increase take home pay. Better pay also means better driver retention, which would work to increase highway safety.