Truck Accidents Are Becoming More Severe and More Frequent
The U.S. economy is often gauged by the commercial trucking industry. In 2019, American truckers transported 11.84 billion tons of freight and generated $791.7 billion in revenue.
Trucks carry 80% of the nation’s cargo, but there are more trucks on the road today than ever before. The number of truck accidents has increased along with the number of fatalities on the highways. Large truck crashes accounted for 11% of all motor vehicle accident deaths in 2018. According to the American Trucking Association, commercial trucks were involved in 59% more accidents per mile in 2017 than in 2010, despite newer technology and better regulations. In addition, the number of people who died in large truck crashes in 2018 was 31% higher than in 2009, when the rate was at its lowest since 1975, when statistics on fatal crashes began.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the average cost of a commercial truck accident in which one person is injured is $148, 279. If more than one person is injured in a trucking accident, the costs rise exponentially to $7,2 million. This number does not include the rising costs of truck repairs and liability claims. As accidents become more frequent, claim costs are almost twice as likely to exceed $100,000.
Initially, the weight discrepancy between trucks and passenger cars appears to be the primary reason for the greater severity of truck accidents. The average truck weighs 20 to 30 times more than a passenger car. In accidents, they commonly underride trucks since they are taller with greater ground clearance. Additionally, trucks’ braking abilities cause problems. Loaded tractor-trailers take between 20% and 40% more distance to stop than passenger cars. On wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes, this discrepancy only gets worse. As a result, many older $50,000 trucks are being replaced by new $150,000 trucks that cost much more to repair
The trucking industry faces a difficult task of controlling losses, especially as driver fatigue becomes more prevalent. The federal hours of service regulations allow drivers of large trucks to drive up to 11 hours straight. Despite this, surveys indicate that many drivers violate the law and work longer than permitted. FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) enacted a rule in December 2017 requiring trucks to have Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), which track and manage a vehicle’s hours of service. An ELD device records driving time automatically, enabling motor carriers to better comply with federal requirements for safe driving.
As part of the adoption of the AAA Foundation’s new Truck Safety Recommendations, the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (the Trucking Alliance) joined forces with the American Automobile Association Foundation. This led to a series of warning, monitoring, and braking systems that could prevent many crashes and save as many as 500 lives per year. Drivers report wanting “all the bells and whistles” of new equipment, not only to improve their own comfort, but also to take advantage of innovative safety features.
When innocent people suffer injury due to the negligence of another, our personal injury attorneys are ready to advocate for each victim’s right to justice and compensation. Over the past 30 years, we have helped injured people get the compensation they deserve in Fresno, Stockton, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and San Jose by holding negligent parties accountable for their actions.
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