- Supply chain constraints are starting to fill U.S. roadways with semitrucks.
- Truckers often work long hours to keep up with demand, leading to drowsy driving.
- You can lower risks by staying alert, by not texting behind the wheel, and by not driving while angry, stressed, or impaired.
The supply chain is a complex web of transportation, production, and distribution that links factories with consumers. As the global economy becomes more reliant on just-in-time delivery, the supply chain faces increased pressure to move goods quickly and effectively.
The recent driver shortage, however, has uncovered issues with lean manufacturing that impact American citizens. With truckloads of goods getting stranded at ports, shippers have a tough time spacing out shipments. This causes the remaining truckers to double up on routes, leading to delays and dangerous situations on American roads.
How Do Supply Chain Issues Affect Drivers?
The transportation of goods by truck is a vital part of the supply chain, and the demand for shipping has only increased in recent years. Coupled with issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, this increase in demand has put a strain on the transportation of goods and has negatively impacted the well-being of many in the shipping workforce.
Those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) must comply with hours of service regulations, but some truckers work longer hours to meet company demands. With supply chain constraints and a decrease in the trucking workforce, the issue hasn’t gotten much better since the peak of the pandemic. When tired truckers remain behind the wheel, it can lead to dangerous situations.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were over 4,479 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2019. Another 114,000 large truck crashes across the U.S. led to injuries. Considering these statistics, it’s a good idea for drivers to shop for car insurance policies that cover both their medical bills and vehicle damages.
With the increase in roadway transportation of goods starting to negatively impact American drivers, it’s important that certain measures be taken to improve highway safety.
How Can Driver Safety Be Improved?
Companies, governments, and drivers themselves have a role to play in improving highway safety amid the current supply chain problems. Below, we’ll run through a few factors that could make the roads a safer place.
Reduce Drowsy Driving Incidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 91,000 accidents were caused by drowsy driving in 2017. These accidents caused more than 50,000 injuries and led to almost 800 deaths.
Drivers must make sure to get a good night’s sleep before heading out on the road. It’s also smart to avoid driving during times when you’re likely to be tired, such as late at night or early in the morning. If you start to feel exhausted while driving, pull over and take a brief nap.
The same steps apply for truckers, who sometimes drive more than their allotted time to combat supply chain problems. It’s critical that companies and truckers work together to create schedules that are manageable, while keeping shipments moving across the nation safely.
Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors
You’ll be much less vulnerable to accidents if you steer clear of risky driving behaviors. These include:
- Texting behind the wheel
- Distracted driving
- Drinking and driving
- Aggressive driving
- Tailgating slower vehicles
Supply chain problems have negatively impacted driver safety by increasing the number of semitrucks on the road. That means risky drivers have a greater likelihood of getting into accidents with vehicles far larger than their own.
By focusing on the road and remaining unimpaired behind the wheel, you could avoid injuring yourself and others. If you’re under the influence or not in a mood where you can drive responsibly, it’s best to hold off instead of heading to the car.
Limit Truckers’ Hours on the Road
In addition to drivers taking safety measures, companies must make sure that drivers are well rested and not overworked. Along with providing training on how to avoid accidents, it’s important that businesses give truckers manageable schedules and plenty of time off.
While supply chain problems and trucker shortages have led to a backlog, drivers still require daily limits to avoid exhaustion. The role of companies and the government in the enforcement process remains unclear, but many motorists want this issue to be addressed.
Why the Supply Chain Matters to Everyday Life
The world economy is highly interconnected, with goods and materials moving around the globe through the supply chain. Retailers rely on the supply chain to source the products they sell, and the transportation of food and other necessities depends on it as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global supply chain, with many factories shutting down and transportation networks nearly coming to a standstill. The resulting shortage of essential goods was felt around the world, and the disruption continues today.
The six-day blockage of Egypt’s Suez Canal in March 2021 served to highlight the importance of the supply chain, as the delays had long-term effects. This situation, along with the pandemic, showed the importance of a well-functioning supply chain for the world economy.
How Trucking Fits in the Supply Chain
The global transportation system has come a long way since the early days of maritime trade. Today, companies use a combination of land, air, and sea transportation to move goods from one place to another.
Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best option depends on the type of goods being transported.
- Air transportation: Typically the fastest option, but also the most expensive. Often used for high-value items that need to be delivered quickly.
- Land transportation: Less expensive than air but considerably slower. It’s generally used to transport heavy or bulky items by truck or train. Car shipping companies, for example, rely almost exclusively on trucks.
- Sea transportation: Usually the slowest transport option, but one that’s cost-effective. Often used for large shipments that can be loaded directly onto cargo ships.
Many companies use a mix of these three transportation types when delivering goods. Due to the strong overlap between each of these, a negative impact on one can affect the other two. This is a key reason why supply chain problems are negatively impacting driver safety.
What Is Your Role in Driver Safety?
Every person plays a part in keeping U.S. roadways safe. The likelihood of you getting into an accident decreases each time you avoid driving while sleepy, intoxicated, or angry. Another way to be responsible on the road is by purchasing one of the industry’s best auto insurance plans.
By making sure that you’re well rested and by following the rules of the road, you can play your role in making Americans’ journeys a little bit safer.