The Dangers & Facts About Truck Accidents
Data from the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that 20% of all commercial vehicles are taken off the road each year because they pose a serious risk to countless drivers and passengers.
In 2011, commercial vehicle accidents accounted for 12% of all fatalities in Tennessee auto accidents. While trucking organizations have claimed that commercial vehicles have become safer over recent years, a consumer watchdog group based out of Washington, D.C., called Public Citizen has questioned this claim. They have also sued the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding safety regulations for trucks in the past. Joan Claybrook, a member of the Public citizen board, has been noted as saying “I consider 20 percent a very large number”. She goes on to raise the question: “If 20 percent of airplanes were put out of service in the United States, how many people do you think would travel by air?”
Most commonly, drivers committed a safety violation by improperly recording their hours in a logbook or having a problem with their license. As far as mechanical problems are concerned, the most common problems had to do with tires, brakes, and lights. Claybrook believes any declining crash numbers have more to do with an ailing economy than anything else. “There is just less driving going on”, she said. Because companies pay truck drivers by the mile rather than by the hour, they tend to drive as fast and as far as they possibly can. Most of the time, drivers are not compensated for overtime, so they don’t get paid extra for the handling of cargo. As Claybrook puts it, “Every incentive exists to work these drivers to death”. Many drivers have two separate logbooks – one that includes their real number of hours for their paycheck, and an altered one that hides their long hours should they need to provide law enforcement with a copy. If they get into a collision, it’s not uncommon for the driver to throw the logbooks out of the window, Claybrook says. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, between 30 and 40 percent of all truck accidents occur due to driver fatigue.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today
People in the trucking industry are required to follow many federal and state regulations. These regulations reside in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 C.F.R secs. 350-399). They apply to all vehicles that cross state lines. They are very long and sometimes confusing. An experienced attorney will be able to comb through these regulations and explain the ways in which they may apply to your case.
23% of fatal multi-vehicle accidents involve a large commercial vehicle. Over 5,000 fatalities occur each year due to such accidents. All this happens despite the fact that only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States are tractor-trailer trucks. Given these figures, it’s easy to see the danger inherent in these types of accidents.