One need only search Google News under the keywords “big rig” to find the scores of truck accidents that occur across the nation.
Big rigs routinely flip and overturn, truck drivers fall asleep, and cargo shifts and falls out of moving vehicles. And on December 7, 2010, an unlicensed 16-year-old fell asleep while driving a big rig full of sour cream. He crashed into a mobile home park. Fortunately, no one appears to have been injured, but serious injuries are pretty likely in any motor vehicle accident that involves commercial trucks.
Don Floyd is a truck driver with more than 30 years of experience. He reports his annual pay at $66,000. In an industry where truck drivers get paid by the mile, rather than by the hour, drivers have a financial incentive to log more miles. More miles equal more income.
Floyd says, “A truck driver can’t work [by law] more than 18 hours in a day, 10 hours of which can be driving. If you figure on averaging 65 miles per hour, you would be driving 650 miles every day. But, that’s if you were driving in your dreams. In the waking world, traffic exists. Lots of it.”
Driving in your dreams, as Floyd says, is exactly what happened to the unlicensed 16-year-old driver carrying a load of sour cream. He fell asleep. Fatigued truck driving has been getting a lot of attention lately, and one could make an accurate guess that it stems from drivers getting paid by the mile.