There are a lot of different things that can contribute to a truck accident -- but would you believe that the amount of time a trucker spends sitting at a loading dock is one of them?
Learn more about the surprising impact loading and unloading delays have on roadway safety.
"Detention Time" Is A Truck Driver's Enemy
"Detention time" is what truckers call every minute in excess of the industry standard -- which is two hours -- given for loading and unloading their cargo. Unfortunately, truckers are seldom in direct control of how much time they spend at the docks. While a trucker can certainly try to hurry things along, there's no guarantee that a driver won't have to wait while another truck's cargo is handled, that the dock's employees will be moving along at a steady pace, and so on.
Detention time is unpaid time -- so that ends up reducing the amount of money a trucker is able to earn. Nationally, detention time takes more than $1 billion out of truckers' pockets each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Even Short Delays Can Lead To Massive Problems
One of the most striking aspects of the report by the DOT is the fact that even a short detention time -- just fifteen minutes -- increases the likelihood that a trucker will be in a wreck by 6.2 percent. Every additional five percent increase leads to another, nearly equal, increase in the number of accidents.
Researchers suspect a variety of underlying issues are at fault for the increase. Some truckers, anxious to make up their lost time, may push through their own fatigue to keep driving. They may also try to skirt safety regulations that aim to keep tired truckers off the road by operating longer than they should. They may, at a minimum, speed.
Truckers who are forced to deal with excessive delays may also be, quite frankly, emotionally frustrated by the time they hit the road. That can also lead to problems with judgment -- or even incidents of road rage.
When Truckers Are Delayed At The Docks, Everyone May Suffer
Unfortunately for the average driver, there's no way to tell if you're on the road with a truck driver who has experienced excessive detention time. When a truck is involved in a truck accident, however, part of a truck accident lawyer's job is looking into the possibility that a driver's judgment, speed, or safety was affected by detention time. Unique factors like these are what can make a truck accident case quite different from an ordinary car accident claim.
If you've been in a truck accident, contact legal professionals like those at Wolfe Jones Wolfe Hancock Daniel & South LLC for more information.
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