A recent New York Times op-ed piece has examined the trucking industry’s refusal to abide by strict safety regulations despite a growing fatality rate involve large trucks and tractor-trailers. Unfortunately, Congress has decided to appease the trucking industry through a rollback of crucial safety measures. For instance, truck drivers are currently limited to a 70-hour workweek over 8 days, along with a required 2-day break. Congress has recently extended those hours to 82, waiving the break requirement entirely.
The Times piece paralleled the law with the tragic crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed fellow comedian James McNair. The truck driver in the crash was abiding by safety regulations and operating a perfectly safe machine—however, it was discovered that the driver had been awake for 28 straight hours. Allegedly the driver had spent hours driving to retrieve his truck, but those hours are not regulated by trucker safety measures.
Other standards that Congress is lowering includes reducing the minimum age for trucking between states and refusing to require carriers to install wireless monitoring systems on their trucks. Wireless monitoring would allow carriers and regulators to keep track of trucking hours, holding drivers accountable—ultimately to keep them safe.
The writer found that truck fatalities have increased by nearly 20% in 4 years, from 2009 to 2013, even while passenger vehicles become safer through new technologies. 2013 saw nearly 4,000 deaths from trucking accidents according to the NTSB. That number is more deaths than those caused by airline crashes in the last half century.
Though only a tenth of all the traveled miles in the United States are done by large trucks, 12.5% of all fatal accidents involve trucks—that percentage doubles when limited to work zones. Despite this growing and unacceptable level of destruction, the trucking industry has cited cost as the reason they have not instituted widespread safety technology.
For context, the trucking industry makes $700 billion in revenue annually—the CDC estimates that the cost to the economy from trucking accidents is $99 billion. The cost of installing safety equipment onto trucks is far less significant than $100 billion. Even if it were not, the cost of human lives must be considered above other costs.
Our Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here to Stand with You
If you have been injured or lost a loved one to a trucking accident, you have the right to hold carriers and trucking companies accountable for their drivers’ negligence. The trucking injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin are prepared to fight for your right to compensation. We have secured over $1 billion for injured or bereaved clients in the last 5 years—if you need representation, we are the allies you need.
Do not let your injury go unanswered by the law. Contact Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation.
For more information about trucking safety, read the New York Times article here.