Schneider National is one of the largest trucking companies operating on our interstates, Schneider National is known for its bright orange Freightliner cabs and trailers, affectionately referred to as pumpkins.
The Green Bay, Wisconsin-based trucking company was founded in 1935, and has since become one of the largest trucking companies in North America, hauling almost 20,000 loads per day and employing almost 16,000 drivers.
The company, like any other long-haul trucking company, is no stranger to accidents, however. Crashes involving Schneider trucks are more common in nearby states including Illinois, since many of its trucking routes flow naturally from Green Bay through the hub of Chicago to other parts of the country.
In 2005, a Schneider National semi rear-ended a woman who was stopped in a construction zone on a Chicago-area interstate, causing her to suffer a traumatic brain injury in the accident. The truck driver failed to stop, and after hitting her, forced the woman’s car to rear-end the pickup truck in front of her.
The woman filed a personal injury case in Cook County court and was awarded $675,000 in damages following a jury trial.
If you or a loved one was injured in a Schneider truck accident in Chicago or Illinois, contact our team today to see how we can help.
Top Big Risk Accident Causes Revealed for Trucks Companies Like Schneider Trucking
A decade ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studied the causes that contribute to commercial truck accidents, based on a study of approximately 1,000 big rig accidents.
Researchers found that while driver fatigue was expected to be the top reason for accidents – drivers who have been behind the wheel for long periods of time have the same slow reaction times as those under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are at a high risk of falling asleep behind the wheel – drug use topped the list.
Both prescription and illegal drugs were included in the same category, which could include opioids for back pain caused by long hours on the road, amphetamines or cocaine to help drivers stay alert while logging extra hours, and alcohol or marijuana, which are often used to help deal with the stress caused by spending so much time alone in a job that is potentially risky for family stability.
For long-haul truckers, cheating, divorce and money issues are all potential relationship killers, according to those who are in the industry, and could contribute to anxiety.
Other top reasons behind big-rig crashes in the FMCSA study included:
- Speeding. Truckers have tight deadlines that often determine their paychecks, so speeding is not uncommon for drivers without speed regulators installed in their trucks. In 23 percent of the accidents included in the study, speed was a factor. Speeding is especially dangerous for semi drivers, because it takes them longer to slow down or stop if they encounter something unexpected in the roadway. And because if their size, the impact in the event of an accident is even more deadly if speed is a consideration. Schneider drivers are restricted to driving 60 miles per hour no matter the speed limit posted.
- Unfamiliar routes. While some long-haul truck drivers have regular routes, others often travel to new destinations on a regular basis, putting them in unfamiliar territory. According to the study, 22 percent of accidents were caused by drivers who were unfamiliar with the roads.
- Over-the-counter medications. Cold medicines and other non-prescription medications can also cause problems for drivers, including drowsiness.
- Blind spots. Just due to their sheer size and length, tractor-trailers have numerous blind spots, making it difficult for drivers to change lanes or merge into traffic safely, especially if they fail to properly check blind spots when making maneuvers.
- Driver fatigue. While is did not top the list, driver fatigue did crack the top 10. While there are federal regulations in place to ensure that drivers don’t log more hours behind the wheel than considered safe, many drive longer than they should, using two separate sets of log books to avoid getting caught at weigh station checkpoints.
- Failure to properly use safety equipment. Tractor-trailer drivers are trained to follow safety measures and the rules of the road, but in nine percent of the accidents studied, drivers failed to use directional or committed some other safety violation that put others at risk.
- Distracted driving. There are a wide range of things that can distract a truck driver, including a cell phone, a GPS system, construction work or an accident. A truck driver who is not focused on his or her driving is a danger, because accidents can happen in seconds.
- Road rage. Aggressive driving – a particular danger when considering the 80,000-pound behemoths that are semis – is also one of the top causes of truck-related accidents. Because of the stress of long-haul trucking, aggressiveness behind the wheel as a cause of accidents should not come as a surprise, especially since many drivers of passenger vehicles fail to understand that tailgating and other unsafe behaviors make it more difficult for semis to drive safely.
Schneider Inspection Failure Rate Below National Average – Causing Accidents and Injury
Many accidents are caused by faulty equipment, which usually occurs when trucks are not properly maintained or allowed to remain on the road despite equipment problems such as old breaks or steering issues.
While the company has a long history, its trucks aren’t the most unsafe on the roadways.
According to 2014 stats from FMCSA, after Department of Transportation inspections, approximately 1,200 of Schneider’s 9,200-truck fleet were removed from service between 2012 and 2014, just under 13 percent of the company’s vehicles. Nationally, the average is close to 21 percent.
The company also let go less than 1 percent of its workforce for violations in that same time period, compared to 5 and a half percent nationally.
Severe injury and wrongful death have resulted from Schneider truck accidents. Get in touch with our team today by calling 312-635-4000. All consultations are completely free.