Communities are often reminded of the dangers of sharing the roads with tractor trailers when tragedy hits close to home. Absent local television and newspaper coverage, tractor trailer accidents seldom make it into the national news spotlight. Earlier this year, one tractor trailer accident did receive widespread media attention, and that was the crash that killed comedian James McNair and injured comedian Tracy Morgan. This begs the question of how frequently tractor trailer accidents happen on American highways, and how many lives are lost in this tragic manner each year.
On average, there are eleven fatal accidents involving tractor trailers on American roads each and every day. This results in a total of approximately 4,000 tractor trailer-related deaths every year. The number of injuries that are caused by tractor trailer accidents is even higher, exceeding one hundred thousand annually. These numbers continue to rise each year, even though they were expected to decline beginning this year due to changes in the hours of service regulations which govern the activities of truck drivers.
There are many causes of trucking accidents, from drowsy drivers to poorly maintained and unsafe trucks. There are even conditions that are inherent within the trucking industry which contribute to the problem. For example, the amount of drowsy driving and substance use among truck drivers may be due, in part, to intense pressure from employers to spend long hours on the road, and to get their loads to the appointed destinations quickly. Some truckers have even reported that they have been encouraged to falsify their logbooks, so that it would appear that they were in compliance with the hours of service laws. Another problem within the industry is that drivers who have had problems with the law or who have been involved in multiple accidents are still behind the wheel of enormous trucks, thanks to an increased demand for trucking services and truck drivers, and hiring practices which don’t always dig deep enough to reveal potential problems with prospective drivers.
Tractor trailers are a valuable part of our nation’s economy. However, their value is greatly undermined when they become a danger to other motorists and their passengers. Americans need the services of trucking companies, but we also need those companies to operate in ways that are safe for everyone on the road. Last year’s changes to the hours of service regulations do not appear to have had the intended result of reducing truck accidents. A reduction in truck accidents is only likely to occur if and when long-held practices within the trucking industry give way to policies and procedures that provide a better work environment for truck drivers and a safer driving environment for the rest of us.
If you have been injured or someone that you love has been killed in an 18-wheeler truck accident, it is critical that you contact Parker Waichman LLP for your free case review. Call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to schedule a case evaluation.
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation
Have you or a loved one been harmed in a truck accident?Click To Get A Free Case Review