No stop lights, no large metropolitan areas to bypass, unobstructed views of the horizon and few cops in sight. That’s a truck driver’s dream and Montana makes that dream a reality. Many commercial truck drivers are paid by the mile, so their pay will be the same for a trip no matter if they take five hours to deliver the goods or 10 hours. That alone is motivation to disobey the speed limit.
Combine that with lack of police enforcement and a real safety hazard is born. Montana is seeing an increase in truck accidents on the highways and many of them are tied back to driving too fast. One volunteer fire fighter in western Montana said his department responds to over 100 car accidents on the highways each year, and almost one quarter of them involve trucks, most of which are going too fast.
It should be the responsibility of the truck drivers to ensure their vehicles are operating at a safe speed. Often Montana faces heavy snow conditions throughout the winter, making safe driving even more crucial. Since drivers are paid by the mile, they are often speeding to get to their destination as quick as possible.
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough police to enforce the speed laws all the time. Capt. Greg Watson of the Montana Highway Patrol says they do what they can with the force they have. Sometimes in the winter, they are dealing with major snow storms, and don’t have time to monitor speed limits.
This means truck drivers need to be accountable for their own actions. They should be concerned more about their safety and the safety of others over the money they receive upon delivery. One mistake can prove to be more costly than the pay they will get for their products.
Source: Missoulian, “Concerns raised over increase in trucking-related crash deaths,” Kim Briggeman, Dec. 18, 2011