According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2011, the number of fatalities in trucking accidents has increased for the second year in a row. Reportedly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the United States regulatory agency for the trucking industry, has been working on a major trucking regulation overhaul for the past two years, in an effort to reduce trucking accidents. This overhaul was the result of the concerns of FMCSA officials that the number of trucking related deaths were not decreasing but appeared to have remained relatively stable over the last 10 years.
Though new rules have been instituted by the FMCSA, some are concerned that they aren’t working as well as they should. In 2011, there was an increase of 1.9 percent in the number of trucking accident fatalities, 3,757 deaths in 2011 compared with 3,686 deaths in 2010. Of the reported deaths in 2011, 2,695 of these individuals were occupants of other vehicles.
Many of the efforts already made to increase highway safety focused on equipment conditions and harsher violation penalties, though many say these areas require stricter regulations. On December 28, 2012, CBS reported that a semi with an over-sized load lost part of that load when driving under a bridge. A box from that load spilled onto the highway and was struck by another semi. Other vehicles were forced to stop or risk striking the debris and having an accident.
Regulators are also concerned about truckers’ physical condition and how the amount of rest they are getting affects highway safety. For more information on this, see the previous blog post, “New Trucking Regulations May Increase Highway Safety… But Not Until 2014.”
Any mode of transportation involves risk, and drivers accept a certain amount of risk when they get behind the wheel. However, factors that motorists have no control over unnecessarily increase that risk, such as a lack of proper trucking regulations, truckers who drive without enough rest, and truckers distracted by their cell phones. Furthermore, an accident involving a semi truck is much more likely to cause serious injury or death compared to those that only involve smaller passenger vehicles.
If you or a loved one are injured in a trucking accident, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal rights and options.