One of the most dangerous road scenarios for any personal-vehicle driver is to be involved in an accident with a giant commercial truck. These 18-wheelers can weigh 20 to 30 times as much a typical car or truck, have a much higher center of gravity and take far longer to stop after applying the brakes. There’s no question about which vehicle/driver will fare worse in a crash between a semi and a smaller vehicle.
For this and other reasons, truck drivers and trucking companies must assume the burden of preserving safety on the road. To be sure, it is up to everyone to drive in a safe manner, but the responsibility is even greater for those who make a living in the shipping industry. Safety must not just be a priority – it must be a fundamental value.
Priorities vs. values – what’s the difference?
In a recent essay for a trucking industry publication, a veteran truck driver with nearly four decades of experience shared his thoughts on the difference between safety as a priority and safety as a value. The problem with making safety a priority, he says, is that priorities can change quickly in response to changing circumstances. Choosing healthy and nutritious foods is a priority when you’re not hungry. But when you haven’t eaten in eight or nine hours, fast food starts looking really good.
By contrast, a value is something fundamental to who you are, and it is much harder to change. It is something you care about even when doing so is inconvenient or in conflict with your immediate desires. Values usually don’t change as circumstances do.
Many trucking companies claim that safety is their top priority. But does it remain top priority when deliveries are delayed by bad weather? Is it a priority when drivers really need to stop for the night and sleep? Is it a priority when a truck is in disrepair but would be cheaper to fix at the terminal?
Trucking company decisions impact employee drivers and other motorists
When trucking companies allow safety to be a shifting priority, it endangers their employees as well as all other drivers on the road. If you’ve been seriously harmed by a trucking company’s negligent actions and choices, please discuss your options with an experienced attorney today.