Numerous accidents, but little alarm
There is little doubt that 18-wheelers and other large trucks pose a risk to drivers on the road. Many people, however, may not realize how common truck accidents have become in the United States. And when a heavy vehicle crashes into a lighter automobile, the results can be catastrophic.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents kill nearly 4,000 people every year, which equates to 11 deaths every day. Additionally, more than 100,000 people are injured each year by collisions with large trucks. These are alarming statistics – so why aren’t we more alarmed?
Possible causes for truck accidents
It can be difficult to pinpoint exact causes of serious truck accidents, and answers vary greatly depending on the source. Potential contributors can include any of the following:
- Overly-tired or overworked truck drivers
- Drivers using controlled substances
- Poor driver training and supervision
- Lack of screening for problem drivers
- Slow government requirement of safety technologies
- Distracted or reckless driving by drivers of trucks and passenger vehicles
- Overloaded trucks or loads that shift while in motion
- Mechanical failures in the trucks, such as brake malfunctions
Government wary of too many restrictions
In any other industry, thousands of deaths a year would produce a national outcry and demand for reform. With the trucking industry as an essential component of growth of the U.S. economy, however, many lawmakers are concerned too many restrictions may harm our country’s ability to conduct business effectively.
Is it possible that this increased economic need to ship goods and to deliver them on-time could be a contributing factor to trucking accidents? The pressure is certainly on for trucking companies and their drivers to deliver more in less time.
Progress has been made, but more is needed
Recent years have produced some headway with regard to trucking safety. This includes incorporating new technology, increasing driver tests for controlled substances and establishing national training standards. These measures may be helping, as fatal truck accidents have decreased by 5 percent from 2013 to 2014. The number of large trucks involved in injury-causing accidents, however, increased by 21 percent. Only time will tell whether safety improvements will result in fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Victims need legal advocates
While government and industry regulation is important, victims of trucking accidents need immediate medical attention as well as legal help. Trucking accident claims can be complex and confusing, particularly if they involve catastrophic injury. It is vital to have a strong legal advocate on your side.
Before you negotiate an early settlement with the trucking insurance company, talk to an attorney with experience in truck accident cases. Your personal injury lawyer can help you obtain needed compensation to cover medical bills and other expenses.