Tractor Trailer Accidents Are Killing More People

So much for efforts to make trucking safer. While the number of fatal car accidents has declined over the last three years as cars have become safer, the same cannot be said about tractor trailers.

Recently, the Huffington Post reported on an alarming rise in deadly tractor-trailer accidents as the economy has improved and the government has bowed to pressure from the trucking industry over regulations intended to cut the carnage.

fatal truck accidents rise

The article noted how truck related deaths reached a low in 2009. But that was mainly due to a decline in trucking activity linked to the recession. In that year 2,983 truck accidents claimed the lives of 3,380 people. There has been a relentless uptick in deaths ever since. In 2013, the most recent year for which final figures are available, 3,541 wrecks killed 3,964 people. This was a rise of more than 17 percent in just four years.

The number of deaths from tractor trailers decreased slightly in 2014 but the figures are provisional. And the number of accidents involving big trucks rose.

The article also explored how the trucking industry is seeking to undermine safety regulations by federal regulators which were intended to make our roads safer.

How the Trucking Industry is Undermining Federal Safety Laws

The trucking lobby is seeking more leeway over a number of laws by:

  • Seeking to allow trucks to carry weights over the federal 80,000-pound limit;
  • Increasing the length of trailers from 28 to 33 feet:
  • Seeking to reduce labor costs by hiring drivers under 21
  • Giving more flexibility to truckers over rest breaks, potentially pushing the maximum driving week from 70 hours to 82.
  • Keeping the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration safety ratings for unsafe trucking companies confidential.

The Huffington Post article states.

“Indeed, the trucking industry is trying to do all of those things. If they are successful, these changes would amount to the most significant overhaul of highway safety rules in decades. But most people don’t know such sweeping revisions are even being considered.”

Not all of these moves have found favor with federal regulators but the feds have backed off in some cases. For example, the FMCSA suggested a proposal to get overweight truckers tested for sleep apnea in 2012. It was fiercely resisted by the industry and the regulator eventually backed down. We highlight some of the common causes of truck accidents in Virginia here on Cooper Hurley’s website.

Our firm has represented many people who have been injured by big rigs. Sadly, these accidents are often so serious, that we often end up representing the families of motorists who have been killed. I am alarmed to read how the number of fatal tractor trailer accidents is rising. If you have been hurt in a trucking accident, or if you have lost a loved one, call us at (757) 455-0077.


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