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Travels of a Trucker Economics of an Accident

November 17, 2011

That Accident Has Economic Downfalls

Everyday I go to work much like yourself. I put one leg in my pants as you do also and I get in my car and drive to work like you do also. The only thing that may differentiate me and you is that you may stop driving once you reach the office. My day of driving may have just begun. Once I slip behind that seat of the truck my driving may or may not continue for days. In doing so a valuable resource that I use is the local radio stations of where I am. Generally I stick to the AM channels to listen in on the current road reports in the area. What amazes me is the amount of accidents I hear. An accident here, an accident there. A road closed here and a road closed there. A crash has occurred and I think to myself great…not in a good sense, but in a critical tone that my day is going to get worse as traffic piles up around the area where I need to go.

If any of you are not aware, the geographical area where I reside in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver is a relatively isolated area. Sure it has lots of people, lots of commuters and it’s fair share of accidents. The problem is that Vancouver is nestled by Mountains to the East, the Pacific Ocean to the West, Inlets and bays and more water to the North and the U.S. to the South. Travel is therefore consistently slow since there are very few bridges to cross with high volume traffic. One accident for example on our highway bridge called the Port Mann can affect traffic for hours upon hours. Oftentimes it will produce a non stop rush hour from morning to night as traffic fights to cross the bridge or use any other route they can find to go around it.

The result or results of these snarls is not just placed in the hands of the person or persons who had the accident, it affects everyone! If people would only stop to think and slow down they would realize that the action of getting into an accident can cost millions of dollars. Not only economically is this harmful it can be harmful in other ways too which I will discuss below.

Now you may be thinking how can one accident cause so much economic impact? Let’s look at this further. Let’s say for a sample scenario a large semi is driving aggressively through traffic on a 3 lane highway and hits a smaller vehicle causing that smaller vehicle to spin out of control and hit a guard rail or a cement traffic block.

With this scenario we now have traffic slowing down to have a look or traffic stopping blocking lanes. So now instead of a three lane highway we are now reduced to 2 lanes with the accident blocking 1 lane. Then there are the Police who show up. The firefighters and the ambulance who have to attend the scene to ensure everyone is okay. By this time traffic is now backed up for a couple of Kilometers as 2 of the lanes have to merge into 1. Then when emergency personnel arrive they shut down a lane to remove debris and their emergency vehicles need a spot also. The result is now 3 lanes of traffic merging into 1 and now traffic is snarled and bumper to bumper for at least 5 to 8 Kilometers. On ramps are snarled. Traffic is barely moving as the on ramps ahead of you also fight their way onto the highway. Then you have the trucks who have to idle and burn excessive fuel because they are forced to wait in traffic. They are using clutches so there is wear and tear on their bodies. Cars are running low on fuel and some are starting to overheat because they don’t do a proper pretrip of their vehicle to ensure they can commute to work. Next you have people who are really needed at their places of employment for it to function properly. Employers whose employees are locked out until their employer arrives to unlock the door. Employers who are missing sales calls. Employees who are paid hourly wages are paid even though they are not working. The insurance cost of the accident. What it all boils down to is that not only has this accident affected the 2 vehicles and it’s occupants, it’s affected 1000’s of others. Now it isn’t a small economic impact, it’s a huge negative impact. Imagine the trucker who is trying to pick up a container load from the port or deliver his container load to the port. You have now ruined his pay which is based on pickups and deliveries from the port with this accident. Imagine all the sick, disabled and elderly who were waiting to see the Doctor you have delayed. Imagine the sick kid who is in hospital when his nursing rotation fails to show up to assist him/her in sick kids hospital. Imagine the patient who has a scheduled surgery in a hospital or clinic and they are not on time and have to reschedule after they waited 10 hours with nothing to eat or are prepped for surgery already.

As you can see the snowball effect from one accident in a key area in the region I live can have profound effects upon many. So what can we do? Slow down! Take your time! Don’t tailgate the next driver and leave some room! sure if other drivers jump into that spot you leave then back it up some more. No load is worth the aggravation of cursing and swearing and bringing your blood to a boiling point. No load is that rushed that you have to race around in a suburban area. My words of advice on this are the load will get there when I get there. If it is late and they refuse it, reschedule it. If it is late and they are grumbling…remind them of the traffic. I am sure everyone in your area will know what the traffic is like and you will find a common interest in talking to the receiver or shipper and switching the negativity away from you. In some cases you can claim that you broke down. Most dispatchers will just concur to avoid a fight or negativity from the shipper/receiver. Whatever the case may be, watch the road. Be alertful of those who weave in and out of traffic. Watch the cars in front of you for signs of braking.

By the way, if any new drivers or people reading this are interested in getting into trucking, I recommend a great place to start.

Check them out and fill out their online secure form which will allow one of their Driver Solution Agents to contact you back.


Thanks for reading and keep her shiny side up! If you like reading my blogs please follow me by email.

Travelling Trucker



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