In Part 3, we again focus on Ian Urbina’s piece in the New York Times, which examines the problem of truck driving for the oil and gas industry, and how it’s contributing to the rise in serious injuries and fatalities for those who work in the industry.
We’ve covered driving while sleepy and improper truck maintenance. This time, we’re covering blatant employer misconduct. As Urbina reports, one company appears to have encouraged its drivers to make false entries in their driving logbooks.
One employee said he was instructed like this: “All you got to do is say that you went into one of the campers and fell asleep for a couple hours, when actually you’re out there working.”
This is the same employee who was injured in an accident that involved the death of one of his coworkers: After having worked a 17-hour shift, the driver attempted the four-hour drive back to the service shop. He fell asleep behind the wheel a mere 10 minutes from their destination, as Urbina reports, running off the highway and hitting a sign. The employee quoted above was injured; a second was killed; it’s not clear what happened to the driver.
Employers cite “flexibility” as a scheduling-requirement for truckers, who must sometimes wait around for 10 hours or longer while the oil rig workers go about their duties. Unlike these oil rig workers, who work their long shifts but then go home for rest, some truckers are being forced to hit the roads long after they’re supposed to.
One trucker wrote: “It is UNSAFE to expect truck drivers to work longer than that.”