This is National Trucking Week, when we should recognize how professional truck drivers contribute to our lives in America; everything that we use from clothing to food to electronic devices, has been brought to us by the professional trucking industry. Thousands of drivers deliver all kinds of goods on American roads every day, safely and efficiently.
But when a commercial truck crashes, says Louise Yako, CEO of the BC Trucking Association, such as a jack knife or a rollover or crash, people often immediately blame the truck driver. Of course, there is no doubt that professional truck drivers have to be held responsible for driving their trucks safely. But the driver is only the obvious link in the supply chain of many other people who also have an effect on safety. These include buyers, sellers, shippers, trucking firms and also consumers. All of us need to share in the responsibility and cost of truck safety.
We should keep in mind that trucking can be a rewarding career, but the drivers often have to absorb the cost of delays that they have no control over. This affects their compensation and when that happens, they may try to make up for their losses by driving when they are tired and driving more miles than they should.
Some experts believe that trucking companies should charge their customers higher rates that will allow them to pay their truck drivers better – for all of their time on duty, including delays at shipping centers, border crossings and terminals.
Last year, Anne Ferro, then-administrator of the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, noted that responsibility for truck safety needs to be more shared and balanced along the entire supply chain.
Ferro also believes that shippers should be more accountable for the trucking companies they use. She said that shippers that only look for low rates may contract with firms with poor safety records.