Truck drivers serve a vital service to all the residents of Brooklyn. Drivers help transport the goods that those residents need, from groceries to entertainment items. Unfortunately, truck drivers throughout the Brooklyn area face unique challenges, and unqualified or underqualified truck drivers may struggle even more with those challenges.
The Unique Challenges That Brooklyn Truck Drivers Face
While truckers across the country face a variety of challenges every day, Brooklyn truck drivers face unique challenges that can make it difficult for truckers to get their deliveries to the correct destinations. In addition, some truck drivers may refuse to deliver goods to Brooklyn and the greater New York area at all due to the hazards involved, which can increase costs to Brooklyn residents or lead to shortages of much-needed goods.
1. Brooklyn has tight, narrow streets, with little room to maneuver.
Tight city streets can make it difficult for truck drivers to maneuver safely through an area. While New York has strict rules that govern truck drivers and the equipment they must have to protect others on the street, including mirrors that help reduce the impact of truckers’ blind spots, the City’s streets can still pose a substantial challenge to maneuver. Many truck drivers dread trying to get through the streets of Brooklyn when making deliveries.
2. Many truck drivers struggle to find parking.
Seeing truck drivers double-parked while they attempt to unload their cargo has become a common sight for Brooklyn residents. As if navigating the tight streets alone does not offer enough of a challenge, finding parking can prove even more difficult. Many truck drivers struggle to find an adequate place to put their rigs while unloading. Worse, even if drivers find a place to park, they may struggle to get back out again.
3. Brooklyn has low bridges that make it hard for truck drivers to maneuver.
Brooklyn has many low bridges, from a bridge on Queens Boulevard that has just 10’ 3” of clearance to a bridge on Orchard Beach Rd with a 10’ 9” of clearance for northbound traffic, which increases to 10’ 11” of clearance for southbound traffic. For perspective, the average semi-truck measures 13.5’ tall. Inexperienced truck drivers, especially those who do not know the Brooklyn area very well, may find themselves trapped by those low bridges, struggling to navigate safely out of the city.
4. Brooklyn sees a great deal of foot traffic.
Many Brooklyn residents avoid driving in their borough if they can avoid it, especially during rush hour. Instead, they may use public transportation or even walk to their destinations. Because of residents’ preferences, Brooklyn sees a great deal of foot traffic. Truck drivers, unfortunately, suffer from low visibility and huge blind spots in their vehicles, which can make it incredibly difficult for them to see pedestrian traffic around them. As a result, truck drivers may struggle to avoid pedestrians when turning or pulling out into traffic, even if those pedestrians believe that they can cross safely.
5. Heavy construction throughout Brooklyn could mean route changes and greater uncertainty.
Even truck drivers who have been driving through Brooklyn for a long time may have a hard time dealing with construction, which can narrow roads, leaving truckers unable to drive their usual routes or making it difficult or even impossible for truck drivers to navigate local roads. Truck drivers can also block off traffic to specific areas at times, and even a good GPS may not always indicate every area blocked by construction every time.
Unfortunately, it often seems as though New York’s roads remain under constant construction—and with good reason. The city was built to endure as much traffic as it actually sees. Thus, maintaining the roads requires regular attention. While that attention helps maintain the overall infrastructure on the streets of Brooklyn, it does mean that drivers, especially truck drivers, may face increased delays.
The Unqualified Truck Driver Challenge
The truck driver shortage has become increasingly problematic over the past several years. Despite rising pay for commercial truck drivers, many trucking companies simply cannot provide the employees necessary to meet demand across the nation. The shortage occurs for several key reasons. First, the average age of truck drivers across America hovers around 55. Second, driving a truck poses unique challenges. Truck drivers spend long hours on the road, away from friends and family. They may struggle with work/life balance. Truck drivers face high levels of drug and alcohol abuse, which can make it incredibly difficult for them to navigate the road safely.
As a result, many companies have grown steadily more desperate to hire truck drivers and push them out onto the road as soon as possible. While truck drivers must receive highly specific training and meet basic minimum standards to get their class C driver’s license, they may not receive the same in-depth training that many companies would once have offered their employees. Those companies may also prove more likely to put drivers on the roads who do not necessarily have the skills required to safely navigate through New York City, especially if the route goes through Brooklyn.
1. Inexperienced drivers may have more trouble navigating the tight roads of Brooklyn.
Unqualified truck drivers may lack the training to navigate safely on Brooklyn’s narrow roads. As a result, drivers may have trouble maneuvering. Sometimes, that may mean that their trucks get stuck. Other times, it may mean that the truck driver inadvertently drifts into another car’s lane, causing an accident that may result in serious injuries.
Accidents on the streets of Brooklyn can quickly prove catastrophic. Drivers may have a hard time controlling their vehicles in an accident, which means they may quickly spin into another vehicle or into pedestrians by the side of the road. Not only does an accident mean significant injuries to anyone in the other vehicle, but also it can impact others around the area at the time of the accident.
2. When drivers get lost or stuck, they may panic, which can decrease their ability to drive safely.
Brooklyn’s streets often seem like a maze. Truck drivers may have a difficult time safely navigating through the area, especially if heavy construction traps them. A GPS may also send the truck driver toward a bridge that the truck will not fit under.
Truck drivers stuck under those conditions may quickly panic. How will they get out? How can they navigate safely or find their destination? Frequently, truck drivers struggle to figure out what to do next. Their focus may narrow to the road ahead of them and navigating, rather than worrying about the other drivers and pedestrians in the immediate vicinity. As emotion grows higher, rational response and even reflexes may decrease, which significantly increases the risks of an accident.
3. Inexperienced truck drivers may not know how to safely navigate around pedestrians.
Pedestrians pose a unique danger for many truck drivers. Drivers often cannot see pedestrians. While New York regulations require drivers to have a mirror that will allow them to see a pedestrian passing in front of them, where accident risk remains highest, many drivers do not have adequate vision down their sides or at their rear. Inexperienced truck drivers may also have a hard time remembering to use their mirrors while also paying attention to other vehicles and the road.
Because of their inexperience, those truck drivers may strike pedestrians without realizing it. Pedestrians, unfortunately, have no protection from a big truck as they attempt to navigate out on the road. Pedestrians often suffer severe injuries following a collision with a big truck, including severe road rash, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones.
4. Inexperienced truck drivers may have a hard time dealing with the heavy traffic in Brooklyn.
During rush hour in Brooklyn, traffic often slows to a crawl. Many drivers quickly grow frustrated with traffic. Changing lanes becomes an immense challenge, and truck drivers who fail to navigate properly may end up stuck and unable to reach their destinations. Unfortunately, unqualified truck drivers may lack the skills necessary to manage that heavy traffic. In tight traffic, truck drivers may have a harder time controlling their trucks and may not know how much room they really need to maneuver.
Many times, unqualified truck drivers will slow down the overall flow of traffic as they struggle to move their vehicles safely. Other times, these drivers may cause serious accidents because they thought they could fit into a specific space, only to discover that their trucks did not have adequate room to maneuver. They may also trust other drivers to leave enough room although many Brooklyn drivers would rather push forward to reach their own destinations rather than offer assistance to a truck driver.
5. Brooklyn drivers have no way to know the experience level of nearby truck drivers.
Some truck drivers may use a student sticker or special plate to indicate their inexperience. In general, however, Brooklyn drivers have no way to see what might have caused a delay in traffic or why a truck driver seems to struggle with the challenges of the road. Other drivers may have a hard time identifying a truck driver’s inexperience and, as a result, expect the truck driver to successfully and safely navigate around them, rather than allowing adequate room for the truck driver to maneuver safely.
Drivers may also quickly grow frustrated with the truck driver. Thanks to Brooklyn’s tight traffic patterns and difficulty navigating in the area, drivers may have an increased risk of road rage, which means they may take that irritation and frustration out on the truck driver regardless of whether he or she has done anything wrong. If the truck driver retaliates, it can escalate an even more dangerous scenario.
6. Unqualified truck drivers might not realize the spaces in which large trucks cannot safely navigate.
If a truck comes in at 13.5 feet tall, how much clearance does that truck really need? Does a specific truck have greater height? What about an antenna on the truck or equipment that may stick up over the top of the trailer? Unqualified truck drivers might not have the training needed to determine how much space they really need as they navigate under bridges and overhangs. Unfortunately, with so many Brooklyn bridges having a low clearance for trucks, this can lead to significant damage to those bridges and injuries to anyone in the surrounding area.
As unqualified truck drivers pull up to a low bridge, if they do realize that they cannot get through safely, they may panic. Unqualified truck drivers may have more trouble turning their vehicles around or figuring out how to get out of a tight spot, especially if they got very close to the bridge before they realized the hazard it posed. Unqualified truck drivers may more often get too close to the bridge before realizing that they need to turn around, since they lack the experience needed to figure out how to navigate that challenge safely.
Did you suffer injuries in an accident with an unqualified truck driver? While trucking companies aim to provide their drivers with the experience they need to safely navigate on the road, that does not necessarily mean that those drivers have the right experience for Brooklyn. Unfortunately, they may lack the qualifications needed to safely navigate those streets.
If you have an accident with an unqualified truck driver, you may qualify to pursue compensation for the injuries you suffer, and the trucking company that failed to provide adequate training or to properly screen a new driver may share the blame. Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about your right to compensation.