NBC News recently published a story about the rising number of fatalities resulting from commercial trucking accidents. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 4,000 people are killed and another 100,000 are injured every year in truck accidents. Since 2009, that number has risen each year. Fatal crashes were up 18% between 2009 and 2012.
Despite these troubling statistics and the continued increase in injuries and fatalities, there does not seem to be much attention being paid to this growing problem by the government or the national media. By and large, the public just is not aware of the dangers it faces when sharing the roads with large commercial vehicles.
Added altogether, fatalities from truck accidents each year are the equivalent of a commercial airplane crashing every single week of the year and killing everyone onboard.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
There are several causes for the rising number of commercial vehicle accidents. These include:
- Low skilled or inexperienced drivers – Due to the long hours and minimal pay, trucking carriers experience an extremely high turnover rate. This leads to a constant influx of new, inexperienced truck drivers, who simply don’t have the training or the hours logged to make the safest decision in any given scenario.
- Unsafe brakes and general lack of safety features – The American Trucking Association estimates that only about 10% of trucks on the road have any sort of active safety technology. This is alarming given the massive size and weight of these vehicles, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and extend to four or five times the length of a passenger car.
- Drivers who work for long hours – While there are regulations governing how many hours a truck driver may work in a week, unfortunately they are often ignored. And even when they are adhered to, there are often unintended consequences that make the situation worse.
- Loopholes in federal regulations – Some loopholes in truck safety regulations allow carriers to evade safety rules by simply re-registering with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) under a new name. This allows the carrier to avoid penalties and liability simply by restructuring the corporation.
With Internet Shopping on the Rise, This Problem Won’t Go Away.
An estimated 15.5 million trucks currently operate within the United States—2 million of which are tractor trailers. There are also an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers employed nationwide. Close to 70% of all freight in the nation is transported using large trucks. In 2006, over 432 billion miles were logged by the U.S. transportation industry.
And these numbers don’t appear to be on the decline. If anything, they will only get larger. With the U.S. economy on the upswing and the increasing shift towards online shopping in America, we are likely to see more commercial trucks on the road in the future. This means we will need to be proactive in searching out new ways to protect drivers.
This may involve legislation and new regulations from the FMCSA. Without renewed efforts to make commercial vehicles safer, we can only expect to see the number of injuries and fatalities caused by commercial trucking accidents to rise. Drawing national attention to this problem will help energize and increase efforts to improve safety, awareness, and accountability. Otherwise, statistics will continue to rise.
If You Were Hurt in a Truck Accident, Call Arnold & Itkin LLP.
You aren’t just a statistic. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision involving a commercial truck, you deserve representation and counsel from a truck accident lawyer with experience. It’s time to take action. Learn more about your case and your legal rights by contacting the professionals at Arnold & Itkin LLP. Our team is proud to offer compassionate support for truck accident victims, advocating for their rights effectively and tenaciously.
For more information, or to schedule a free consultation regarding your case with our truck accident lawyers, call Arnold & Itkin LLP today.