The trucking industry is a massive and vital industry that delivers goods across North America in times that even our parents wouldn’t have dreamed of just fifty years ago. As a result of this explosion of the trucking industry, America’s roadways are choked with an unprecedented volume of trucking traffic. However, despite incentivized pay rates and solid benefits packages, the demand for new truckers remains largely unfulfilled. The long hours, the distance, and the negative social stigma sometimes associated with truckers makes young people shy away from the profession.
This has resulted in an extremely high turnover rate in young truckers, which has led to an increasingly aged trucker workforce. All this in a time when demand for truck drivers is at an all-time high. The massive demand for truck drivers has driven some companies and drivers to push themselves to work more hours, with less rest, and often with the aid of dangerous stimulants. The ageing truck force has not dealt adequately with this increased demand, and has sometimes resorted to breaking statutory provisions designed to ensure that drivers reach a minimal level of sleep so that they can safely operate their vehicles. See, Drivers’ Association v. FMCSA, et. al, 494 F.3d 188 (D.C. Court of Appeals 2007).
These dangerous practices have led to a sharp increase in the number of trucking accidents in the U.S., 500,000 annually, and, tragically, some 5,000 deaths last year alone. In these accidents, there are many possible liable parties: the original tortfeasor (the trucker), the trucking company they’re employed with, the company renting the truck, or even the municipality in which the accident occurred. See eg, Carolina Casualty Insurance Co. v. Panther II Transportation, Inc., 402 Fed. Appx. 62 (6th DCA 2010).