Truck Accidents On The Rise Due To Fatigue And Safety Issues

Truckers face rigid deadlines and tremendous pressure to deliver raw materials, works in progress and finished goods to manufacturers, construction sites, retail distribution centers, big box stores and other entities. Truck safety in Nevada continues to be a subject of ongoing debate for the industry, insurers and regulators. A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveals that after years of steady decline the rate of truck accidents and fatalities have started to rise.

Between 2008 and 2011, the number of crashes with fatalities plummeted 12 percent. In 2011, fatal truck accidents increased to 3,608, 3 percent over 2010. Trucks make up 4.7 percent of roadway traffic but 12.4 percent of all fatal accidents. Persons in passenger cars have five times the likelihood of suffering a fatality than truckers.

Because the dynamics of an accident between a truck and car are different in so many ways, you should consult with a Nevada truck accident lawyer to determine whether you have a cause of action.

Safe Practices and Repairs

In 2011, roadside truck inspection inspections recorded over seven million violations. Either the driver or vehicle was placed out of service for 980,000 inspections-a 14 percent rate. In 2012, a special inspection sweep resulted in 287 truckers receiving citations for drug and alcohol violations. In addition, 128 truck and bus firms either employed drivers that tested positive for illegal drugs or failed to properly implement a drug and alcohol testing program.

Last year, a series of nationwide brake safety sweeps resulted in one of every seven trucks inspected being put out of commission because of dangerous brakes. An analysis of one million lines of data from 28,000 trucking companies and 200,000 trucks show the three most common safety issues:

  1. Bald tires
  2. Defective brakes
  3. Excessive/dangerous loads

Many companies also breach their responsibility for implementing drug and alcohol dependency and deficient training, according to the data.

Driver Fatigue a Problem

In the trucking industry, it became the norm for drivers to work long hours–constantly balance safe driving practices with the need to deliver their loads to the required destinations by established deadlines. To qualify for mileage incentives, on-time delivery bonuses and other award programs, many truckers bend the rules by electing not to take the required downtime.

Beginning July 1, 2013, the new HOS regulations for semi-trailer drivers limit driving to no more than 11 hours a day after 10 hours off duty. Truckers must also log time spent in the sleeping compartment.

Improving Truck Safety

Truck inspections are very time-consuming and labor-intensive. Although significant resources have been directed to truck inspections, the FMCSA admits that inspections have inherent limitations when it comes to reducing “dangerous trucks” risk. The agency says that technologies such as the Forward Collision Warning System would reduce the number of rear end collisions between 8,597 and 18,013, save $122,650 in property damage and $1,056,221 per fatal accident.

This information shows that truck accidents have many possible components, which may complicate an injury claim.

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