The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently reported that the rate of truck accidents, personal injury, and death has been increasing. In 2011, 3757 people died in collisions with trucks, which represents an 11.2 percent increase from 2009. Almost three times as many people die in tuck collisions as in aviation, boating, and railroad accidents combined.
18 wheeler trucks are the predominant means of freight transportation in the United States, representing a 67 percent market share. There are 11 million trucks traveling on roads in the US each year, which represents 4.7 percent of the passenger vehicles on the road. Nevertheless, 12.4 percent of all fatal crashes involve trucks. The number of fatalities per miles driven is 17 percent higher for trucks than for passenger vehicles. The vast majority of people killed in accidents with trucks are occupants of cars that are hit.
Safety experts opine that truck drivers being compensated by miles driven, rather than hours worked, incentivizes them to ignore proper safety measures, including not driving at proper speeds, not performing repairs on vehicles, and driving in a fatigued state. These types of work pressures account for approximately 13,000 truck crashes each year.
Work pressures are not the only cause of trucking accidents. Drugs and alcohol have been shown to be another serious problem in the trucking industry. Legal and illegal drug and alcohol use is estimated to be a factor in 65,000 trucking accidents a year. The Government Accountability Office found that 22 percent of truck drivers were driving while also being given disability benefits for epilepsy, alcohol addiction, or drug dependence.
Expect the number of fatalities from trucking accidents only to get worse. The trucking industry has been lobbying Congress to increase the size of trucks to weigh up to 97,000 pounds, a 20 percent increase from the 80,000 pound limit that was set in 1982. The trucking industry is also pushing to have more trucks that carry multiple trailers hitched together more than double the 53 foot max limit that exists in most states. These types of increases will only increase the number of personal injuries caused by accidents between trucks and cars.
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury, learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney by filling out our free, no obligation case review form located on this website.