The trucking industry is a major driver behind two of the world’s biggest economies: Europe and the USA. Over the years, they depended and regulated the said industry. However, there are still risks involved in truck driving. One just beats the other in certain aspects.
Many vehicular accidents are due to the driver’s fatigue, alcohol intake or drug use. In truck driving, those three factors are closely related to working hours.
Europe limits truck driving to nine hours a day. The US has more than that. The driving hours don’t even cover the paperwork, loading and unloading, and maintenance. It’s also worth noting how truck drivers in Europe have more rest periods.
Yet in the US, truck drivers are banned from working more than 60 hours a week. Their European counterparts may drive longer than that.
In case a storm hits, truck drivers in Europe can pull over and wait until the weather gets better. Their US counterparts can’t afford to do that. If they do, they risk their income for the day and they might not get paid for the extension.
Truck driving isn’t among the lucrative professions out there. But once the drivers realize how valuable their role is, they can demand better payment. Their income may not directly cause risks, but they can help trigger unhealthy habits.
The US pays its truck drivers better than Europe. To earn more, some European truck drivers take other jobs during their breaks. These make them feel tired once they have to hit the road.
Some countries in Europe offer better income rates and benefits to their truck drivers. However, these don’t extend to all truck drivers in the said continent.
Being alone in long roads in the middle of deserts is a tough task. Yet, that’s the reality that many US truck drivers face. Interstate highways are often in the middle of nowhere.
Driving in interstate highways is easier than passing through different countries though. Such is the case in Europe.
US highways tend to be straight and wider, too. It’s relieving for drivers when they know they’re not too close to other vehicles.
The lack of heavy traffic in the said highways further makes it easier to drive trucks. European truck drivers have to deal with moderate to heavy traffic most of the time unless they choose to work at night.
Trucks are at a higher risk of getting robbed in places where there’s moderate to heavier traffic. But then again, there are other motorists who may serve as witnesses. If a truck gets hijacked in the middle of deserts, the driver is lucky enough if there’s one witness around.
It doesn’t take a genius to notice how long-haul trucks in Europe and the US look so different. The ones in the Europe are usually lighter, taller and more compact. They look that way because the engines are above the cabins. Such design is known as cab-over.
Cab-over is easier to maneuver in relatively narrow spaces. It’s mainly due to its weight and compact size. The design fits European roads well.
Long-haul trucks in the US have the traditional cab look. Their engines are in front of the cabin, making them longer and bulkier.
In terms of height, US trucks are shorter. As a result, truck drivers can easily climb in and out of the cabin. It tends to be roomier as well.
They’re harder to maneuver due to the protruding engine. However, this aspect actually prompts many drivers to slow down and be more cautious.
While this rarely happens, consider what happens when the truck’s oil leaks and starts a fire. If the engine is under the cabin, you won’t see it right away. On the other hand, having the engine in front makes it easy for you to spot the fire. You can stop the engine and get out of the cabin sooner.
There’s no doubt that the US has better rest areas than European countries. The former has more parking spaces fit for trucks. Moreover, its truck stops have many amenities.
Expect restaurants and shopping centers. There are areas where drivers can play and get a massage, too. Many motels are clean and equipped with cable and Wi-Fi services. Truck drivers don’t have to sleep in their cabins out of disgust over dirty motel rooms.
The US truck stops have facilities and professionals for maintenance and repairs as well. The services mean additional costs. However, they ensure that the trucks are in good condition. This further lessen the risks of accidents.
European truck stops aren’t all spacious. Many of them can’t be considered scenic as well. Drivers are just expected to stay for a few hours after all.
Europe has stricter guidelines when it comes to this. The US is more lenient but this doesn’t mean the drivers are less skilled.
Both places have truck driver shortages. The latter manages such problem by opening its doors to foreigners. They don’t just accept anyone though. The said foreigners must first pass tests and get driving licenses in the US.
Europe has yet to address the issue of aging drivers. Sooner or later, its shortage will become worse. They might end up hiring less qualified individuals for the said job. Having them in the roads and letting them become in-charge of freights mean a lot of risks.
In the US, the Department of Transportation oversees the trucking industry. Through its arms, it manages highways and driver licenses. Some states have extra rules but these are mostly about the use of local roads.
The same can’t be said about Europe. While most countries in the continent are members of the European Union, each of them still has different governments. That means laws involving truck driving still vary between countries.
Ideally, improving the working conditions of truck drivers is simpler in the US. There’s only one national government anyway. As for Europe, there are many agencies from the member-countries that have to talk to.
When it comes to trucking, Europe and the US each have better regulations managing risks in the said job. If you don’t mind lonely roads, driving in the US may feel a lot better. The truck stops also make it feel more comfortable.
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