We know them as the giants of the road — semi-trucks. We see them on every street and highway in America, transporting the goods we need to keep our businesses and lives going. But you’ve also heard the horror stories of good people losing their lives in terrible truck accidents.
While we know trucks are massive and that collisions can be catastrophic, there’s also a lot that people don’t know about the trucking industry. Some of these facts may even come into play if you are in the unfortunate position of needing to take legal action after a semi-truck crash in Florida. Keep reading to learn more, or call Brooks Law Group for a free consultation today.
Three Facts About Semi-Trucks
- Why are they called semi-trucks?
- Trucks are harder to drive than the average car.
- There is currently a truck driver shortage.
A semi-truck is a truck or tractor with its own engine capable of towing one or more semi-trailers with cargo. The semi-trailers attach to the tractor and cannot move on their own. Semi-trucks with the attached semi-trailers are variously known as “tractor-trailers” and “18-wheelers.” You may also hear them referred to as big rigs, semi-tractor trailers, or simply “semis.”
A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. They are also longer, wider, and taller than the standard passenger car or SUV. They are also more complex machines, with technology and braking systems that are not the same as other vehicles.
What does this mean? It means that heavy trucks are much more difficult to drive. Truckers must complete specialized training and pass tests to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before legally operating a semi-truck. Depending on the type of cargo they wish to haul (e.g., hazardous materials), they may also need certain endorsements added to their licenses before hitting the road.
Trucking is one of the oldest occupations in America, but people hired as long-haul truck drivers don’t stay in the profession for long. NPR reports that the turnover rate for long-haul drivers has been at 90 percent for over a decade. In other words, for every 10 truckers, nine will leave the profession within just one year.
There are reasons why retention is difficult. Being a long-haul trucker means long periods away from family, not the best exercise and diet routine, and not a lot of quality sleep. The shortage also makes the job stressful since fewer drivers mean more demanding schedules for those who remain. It’s also a dangerous profession. According to NPR, truckers are 10 times more likely to be killed on the job compared to the average U.S. worker.
Contact Brooks Law Group
When things on the road go wrong with a semi-truck, the consequences can be disastrous. Understanding what happened and who should be held responsible is a job for a knowledgeable Florida truck accident lawyer. Call or contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a top truck accident attorney at Brooks Law Group.
This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2021.