The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for regulating the trucking industry, and this agency is constantly monitoring trends to determine if their procedures and rule changes are working. Recently the FMCSA compiled a report of truck accidents in 2011 (the most recent data available) to learn more about the number of fatalities in these crashes.
According to the report, the number of individuals killed in trucking accidents has increased three percent over 2010 numbers. Over 3,700 people were killed in these accidents, and many of those individuals were drivers of passenger vehicles. The report also indicated that over 80 percent of these crashes happened from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M., with many of the accidents occurring on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Nearly eight percent of drivers in these crashes were speeding, either driving too fast for conditions or above posted limits. This was one of the main factors in many trucking accidents, and recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recommended speed limiters for large trucks. This would prevent these vehicles from being able to travel at unsafe speeds.
Alcohol and drug use by truck drivers is another factor for these crashes, and may lead to more stringent drug testing in the industry. Legislators have introduced bills that would require hair testing to check for illegal drug use in truck drivers. Currently, these individuals only need to submit a urine test, which is not as thorough as the more advanced screening measures.
The agency has also recently reduced the amount of hours that truck drivers are allowed to be behind the wheel, hoping to reduce the amount of accidents caused by fatigued drivers. This requires drivers to rest for 34 hours to restart their driving weeks, which must include two consecutive nights where drivers are not operating from 1 A.M. to 5 A.M.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, it is important that you seek treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. After you have received any necessary care, you need to discuss your claims with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about the types of compensation that may be available for your specific situation.
An attorney will be able to explain your situation to you, and help you understand the offers that you may be receiving from insurance companies. If these offers are not fair, an attorney can represent your interests at trial. This will allow you to be confident that someone is looking out for your best interests.