The Impact of Competition in the Trucking Industry on Safety

Adverse effects of competition in the trucking industry

A variety of factors has enhanced competition in the trucking industry in recent years. Deregulation has a significant impact on the industry, resulting in increased competition. Also, the implementation of NAFTA has expanded the utilization of big rigs to transport cargo in the United States, and across North America.

Many people proclaim that there are significant benefits associated with deregulation of the trucking industry and the implementation of NAFTA. Indeed, there are trucking industry analysts that maintain that increased competition between companies is beneficial in some ways, including for consumers.

With that note, not everything is rosy in the aftermath of increased competition among trucking businesses in the United States, and specifically in the state of Texas. The stark reality is that that increased competition in the trucking industry in recent years has raised concerns about safety compliance.

Competition of “Efficient” Delivery of Goods

One area in which competition in the trucking industry significantly intensified is regarding the more “efficient” delivery of goods. In the trucking industry, efficiency equates with the speed of delivery.

In the grand scheme of things, the need to more quickly deliver goods via commercial truck transit has resulted in very real concerns regarding safety issues. These include big rig operators driving at rates above the speed limit or too fast for prevailing conditions.

Not Enough Qualified Drivers

The competition for drivers has never been as fierce as it is today.

One simply has to listen to the radio for numerous adds looking for truck drivers to know there is a shortage of good drivers.

With many trucking companies paying sign up bonuses for the best drivers, many companies are having trouble filling jobs with experienced drivers.

Pressure on Drivers Leads to Speeding

A primary cause of commercial truck accidents is speeding or driving at a speed beyond what is prudent for prevailing conditions, particularly weather conditions.

Industry competition prods many commercial operators to drive at unsafe rates of speed with alarming regularity. Consequently, the number of speed-related commercial truck accidents has increased.

Driver fatigue is another leading cause of commercial truck accidents in Texas and across the United States. Another means by which a trucking company theoretically can obtain a competitive edge is by keeping drivers on the road for longer periods of time.

Drivers get away with this safety violation usually by not keeping accurate log books.

Currently, a driver is required to take a prescribed break after operating a rig for 10 hours. By ignoring or stretching, this mandate, a few trucking companies believe they can obtain a competitive edge over the competition through quicker transit and delivery of a load.

As an aside, elongated periods of time on the roadway also results in commercial truck drivers utilizing substances thought to aid them in staying awake.

The use of these drugs can also have dangerous consequences when it comes to roadway safety.

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