One of the most physically demanding occupations in America is the trucking industry. Truckers spend nearly half of their days on highways, for at least 10 hours straight, according to federal regulations. The long hours on the road tend to add up, especially when the truck driver is alone. Imagine if there were two truck drivers who could take shifts together. One truck driver can take the first shift, and the other driver can drive for the rest of the shift. Sounds safer and more efficient, right? Well, that’s essentially what team driving is about.
In the trucking industry, team driving is when two drivers take turns operating the same truck. While one driver is operating the truck, the other driver is on the passenger side or in the sleeper berth. Because the two drivers are dividing the hours spent on the road, they are allowed to travel farther than one trucker who has driven an entire 10-hour shift.
Benefits of team driving for truck drivers
Many trucking companies are offering incentives for team driving because of its many benefits. For trucking companies, team driving helps to cut down on vehicle and equipment costs. Instead of assigning one truck per driver, teams of drivers can work with the same truck. Team driving is also a great way to increase productivity. Trucking companies who need to deliver certain goods quickly can assign team drivers to complete a long delivery.
Trucking companies are not the only parties who benefit from team driving. There are many benefits that team driving offers truck drivers as well.
- Companionship. One of the biggest challenges that truck drivers face is staying present and awake on the highways. Having another driver on the road brings a sense of comfort and security. The chances of being involved in a truck accident is lower when there is another driver who can take over when one feels drowsy.
- Traveling at a greater distance. Another benefit of team driving is being able to travel a greater distance. Truck drivers who can split shifts are able to operate their rigs for longer hours. Instead of having to shut down at the 10-hour mark, team drivers can continue to drive and accept more deliveries.
- Having another set of eyes. Team driving puts truck drivers in a unique position. Instead of one truck driver being responsible for the cargo or log records, another truck driver can serve as another set of eyes and ensure that all necessary tasks have been completed.
- Increased efficiency and security. Team driving provides additional security for truck drivers. The presence of another person can bring a sense of relief. Each truck driver has enough time to properly rest and collect themselves before driving again, and the other driver can rest knowing that the truck will not be left unattended.
Potential issues with team driving
As ideal as team driving sounds, there are always pros and cons with everything. Critics of team driving have expressed concern about how the practice will affect the maintenance of the trucks. Even though truck drivers are allowed to travel greater distances, the additional miles traveled will cause wear and tear on the truck. Without proper and timely maintenance, over time, the chances of a truck accident increase.
Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucking companies have a federal obligation to perform routine inspections on all commercial vehicles. However, it is easy for team drivers to go for long periods of time without a routine inspection. If the team drivers continue accepting deliveries without stopping, it’s unlikely they can keep the vehicle in proper working order. There are many maintenance issues that can contribute to a truck accident, including:
- Failing to maintain a truck’s braking system. If there is one part of a truck that goes unnoticed until it is too late, it’s often the braking system. Brake failure can cause truck accidents like jackknife accidents, rollovers, and rear-end collisions.
- Failing to replace a truck’s tires. Another part of a truck that can instantly lead to a truck accident are the tires. When a tire blows out on a compact car, it can be a terrifying experience. However, when a tire blows out on a truck, it can be a catastrophe. Things like worn treads are signs that a tire needs to be replaced.
- Failing to replace signal lights. Failing to replace the blinkers on a truck is detrimental to both the trucker and passenger cars. Motor vehicles pay attention to a truck’s signals and rely on them to navigate safely on the highways. When the truck’s signals are out, it is even more difficult to determine in which direction the truck driver wants to go.
- Failing to install underride guards. An underride truck accident is nearly always fatal. This type of accident happens when a smaller car is forcefully pushed or slides underneath the body of a truck. One way to prevent this type of accident from happening is with the use of underride guards. Unfortunately, some trucking companies and truck owners fail to install and maintain these guards on the trucks.
After being involved in a Minot truck accident, your primary focus should be healing. Let the truck accident lawyers of The Larson Law Firm fight on your behalf. Our truck accident lawyers have a proven track record of success and want to help you seek the justice that you deserve. Call our office at 701-484-HURT, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We serve injured clients in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo.
Mark Larson is a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Civil Pre-Trial Specialist focusing on personal injury, motor vehicle, wrongful death, and oil field claims. Since 1979, Larson Law Firm has served the injured throughout North Dakota. Read more about Mark V. Larson