A group of Savannah truck drivers held a news conference yesterday (June 2) to answer critics after being blamed for 2 fatal accidents that recently took 10 lives just miles apart on I-16.
The truckers at the news conference were independent contractors for the port, mainly making numerous short hauls, but they came together to both pay respect to the lives lost and to defend the over-the-road truckers shouldering all of the blame for the deadly crashes.
Trucker Jeremy Irvin expressed remorse for the losses of life, but said that any who were looking for someone to blame should look at the bigger picture for truck drivers. He said,”They are under pressure from all sides, the DOT, the trucking companies, the Ports Authority all play a role in this.”
The drivers pointed out that since they often make less than minimum wage, the pressure is too high on them to stay on the road, leading to unsafe driving conditions. They say trucking companies should be held accountable for the bad working conditions that sometimes force drivers into risky situations on the road.
The drivers called on the DOT to crack down on trucking companies that ask them to drive more than their Hours of Service limit.
A Teamsters Local 728 representative stood with the drivers during the conference, but does not represent them.
Georgia legislators say they are hard at work on laws that would slow trucks down and limit the number of hours that driver spend behind the wheel, but until the low wage problem is addressed, it seems unlikely that more regulations will have a positive impact on safety.