Many drivers may feel that they are encountering far more commercial trucks on roads and highways than in years past. In fact, the number of trucks HAS gone up. Combined with aging highway infrastructure, this means more congested traffic, and potentially more crashes, than ever before.
More Online Shopping Means More Trucks
Trucks are responsible for moving roughly 72.5% of the nation’s freight by weight. As of 2019, there were 37.9 million trucks registered for commercial use in the U.S., and as of 2020, there were 3.36 million truck drivers. That’s a lot of trucks.
E-commerce has had a big influence on the trucking industry. In 2012, e-commerce made up 7.6% of all U.S. sales, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2021, online sales made up 18.1% of all sales, more than doubling in under a decade. And more than 51% of consumers surveyed say they prefer shopping online to shopping in stores.
Year over year, e-commerce is growing at a rate three times faster than traditional brick-and-mortar retail. Because more things need to be shipped, more trucks are needed to ship them, especially for short-haul trucking between warehouses and distribution centers.
Are There More Trucking Accidents Now?
Just statistically speaking, the more trucks on the road, the more likely you are to get in a truck accident. But there are also several other factors that may be playing a role in your likelihood of getting into a wreck.
Related Reading: What Causes Tractor-Trailer Crashes?
Many online retailers offer expedited shipping, including next-day or two-day shipping. That means truck drivers are often now required to work much longer hours without stopping to ensure they make shipping deadlines.
Federal laws state that truck drivers can’t work more than 14 consecutive hours and need at least 10 hours off between shifts, and long-haul truckers can’t drive more than 11 hours in one shift. Many trucking companies still illegally encourage their drivers to work longer and without breaks. This can lead to truck drivers driving while fatigued, which studies show may be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Tired drivers are more likely to make errors that could lead to a crash.
Many online retailers also offer free shipping for their customers. But as these retailers still need to pay the cost of shipping themselves, they may encourage their freight teams to overload their trucks so they can ship more product in each trip, which is also illegal and against federal trucking regulations.
Overloaded or improperly loaded freight can cause commercial trucks to experience maintenance problems like tire blowouts on the highways, make it harder for them to come to a stop in emergency situations, and even cause them to flip.
Related Reading: Who is at Fault in Truck Accidents Caused by Unsecured Loads?
Finally, because there are more trucks on the road, there is also a need for more truck drivers. The U.S. is currently in the middle of a massive truck driver shortage, because trucking companies are notorious for offering low pay and poor working conditions and can’t retain enough qualified workers for their needs. Instead, some trucking companies hire inexperienced or unqualified drivers, who are far more likely to make errors and cause crashes than experienced commercial truck drivers.
Gary Bruce Knows Trucking Cases
Trucks are so much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, especially when speeding or overloaded, that commercial trucks have the potential to cause enormous damage and catastrophic and even deadly injuries when they are involved in collisions.
Truck accidents also can’t be treated the same way as an ordinary car accident. Truck cases often involve far more compensation, so the insurance company fights significantly harder to avoid having to pay any of it. There are many people who could be liable because the driver, the driver’s employer, the company that owns the truck, and the company that owns the freight are often not the same people. Any or all of them could be liable for your injuries.
Gary Bruce has worked with many victims of truck crashes, and our firm knows how to prove who is at fault, why, how, and what you’re owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.