Earlier this week, we wrote that sleep apnea in the trucking industry may be even more hazardous than previously thought because of new research suggesting that it is closely linked with silent strokes.
But driver fatigue is just one of many hazards that can cause truck accidents. Sometimes overweight loads and improperly maintained equipment are to blame. In these situations, truck drivers in New Jersey and elsewhere fear for their safety and may even go on strike in order to call attention to trucking company negligence.
Such a strike recently took place at the Port of Seattle in Washington State. Earlier this month, as many as 400 truck drivers stopped work in order to protest unsafe trucks and working conditions.
Among their most fervent claims is the allegation that shippers are purposely overloading containers in order to ship more of their products for the same amount of money. This leads to overweight loads, which can be dangerous and result in fines for the truck drivers who had no part in loading the cargo.
One truck driver said: “It’s very dangerous for the public, it’s very dangerous for me . . . There’s a lot of overweight loads. We don’t even know what we’re taking out of the terminal.”
There are several reasons why it is dangerous for trucks to carry loads that are too heavy. First, the extra mass increases the amount of time, distance and braking power required to stop the truck. In an emergency, a truck driver may not be able to stop his vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
Overweight loads can also make the truck more likely to tip over if the load becomes unbalanced.
Finally, carrying loads which are too heavy for the truck can cause the vehicle to deteriorate more quickly. We have posted horror stories in the past about drivers who were severely injured or killed when truck parts become detached and hit their vehicles.
Hopefully, this truck driver strike will be successful and call attention to serious safety problems we all face as a result of trucking company negligence.