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Los Angeles Law Blog

By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Labor Laws on Friday, August 17, 2018.
Lack of Compliance Within Trucking Industry

The trucking industry is a dangerous one, and often lacks the needed enforcement of checks and balances to ensure all drivers on the road are kept safe. Although there are laws and regulations in place meant to address such issues, the unfortunate reality is these safety rules are often ignored by truckers and/or their employers. It’s a scary thought to consider the 80,000 pound truck driving calmly next to you on your morning commute may be operated by a driver that is under-slept, under-fed, or in other ways compromised – however, that is the reality we all live in every day.

The cost of negligence in this industry is high – the loss and ruin of thousands of lives per year, both of innocent bystanders and the truckers themselves – and still, the industry does nothing to respond. An unregulated industry serves nobody, including its own employment base. In fact, the shortage of truck drivers is a primary contributor to the increased demands of the job, pushing current drivers far beyond reasonable limits and incentivizing them to operate dangerous vehicles while impaired from exhaustion, hunger, substance use, and more. For these reasons, trucking is one of the deadliest vocations in the nation.

There are a number of regulatory issues plaguing the industry and risking the lives of all who share the road – a lack limitations on working hours, unsatisfactory size and weight restrictions on the vehicle, insufficient mandatory break periods, decreased access for truckers to have safe places to rest in between shifts, and a myriad of other safety standards – just to name a few. The reasons each of these issues exist vary – some are legislated but not enforced, while others are staunchly opposed by interest groups on the federal level who would stand to lose profits by increasing protective regulations. As happens all too often, money wins – even when it puts the lives of innocents in harm’s way. Regardless of the root cause of each of these systemic deficiencies, the result is always the same – death and injury, pain and loss.

In its current form, the trucking industry is a toxic and reckless industry that operates with no regard for the well-being of its own people and those affected by irresponsible driving habits and unacceptable work conditions. Perhaps most frustratingly, there is little anyone can do to prevent becoming a victim when out on the roads. Although responsible driving practices will always improve one’s odds of avoiding vehicle-related risk or injury, there comes a point where the rest is in the hands of those around them and trusting their safe driving practices. This is little consolation to anyone who understands the far-reaching liabilities that are staple features of such a prominent industry – trucks are everywhere on the roads, after all. We hope you’ve not been – and never will be – affected by these hazardous examples of unregulated and non-compliant trucking practices, but if you or a loved one has first-hand experience, we hope you’ll contact our office to begin seeking the closure you deserve.