The trucking industry works on deadlines. If deadlines aren’t met and goods not moved, then profits are affected. Today, over 200,000 people make their living in the trucking industry in Ontario and there is a major shortage of qualified drivers. This means even more pressure for truckers to meet deadlines and work longer hours. Kitchener injury lawyers see many cases of accidents involving trucks where drivers have succumbed to fatigue.
Drivers face long and often boring days with erratic sleep schedules. Many only get paid by how much work they get done. When truckers are pushed beyond safety limits, serious accidents can take place. For one thing, an accident involving a commercial vehicle is one in which the vehicle can have a gross combination weight of 12,000 kg, whereas a regular car comes in at around 900 to 2,000 kg. Driving these heavy vehicles requires a longer stopping time, slower acceleration, and more space and handling to turn or back up. Consequently, a truck driver needs to be completely attentive at all times.
In Ontario, the trucking industry is regulated with regard to the amount of time a trucker can actively drive. Ontario law requires:
● A driver must be off duty at least 10 hours per day
● A driver may not drive more any 13 hours each day
● A driver cannot drive after 14 hours of active driving in a day
● A driver cannot drive after 70 hours during 7 consecutive days or 120 hours for 14 consecutive days
Drivers are required to maintain logbooks to detail the number of hours spent on duty. But truckers who are kept to a tight schedule may sacrifice certain safety precautions such as sleep just to meet the demands of their jobs. Driver fatigue is one of the most common reasons for truck accidents on the roads today. Although there are strict rules when it comes to driving a large commercial vehicle, the sheer demands of the job can sometimes get in the way of safety laws.
There are some very common sense things that truckers can do to keep themselves at their safest while operating their vehicles:
● Abide by lawful driving hour limits
● Take multiple coffee and food breaks and avoid eating while driving
● Avoid large meals that can cause sleepiness
● Make every effort to walk around at each stop to improve blood circulation and attentiveness
● Conduct a thorough inspection of the truck for any possible issues
● Ensure that cargo is properly placed and secured.
● Rest the eyes as much as possible when not on the road.
● Keep the temperature cool
● Keep emotions in check
● Stop before exhaustion sets in
Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often complex and serious. If you have been involved in a truck accident, a Kitchener personal injury lawyer can protect your rights. Call ABPC Law today for a no-cost consultation.