Truck Accidents: A Dark Side of the Improving Economy

January 15th, 2016 by Patrick Hogan

The good news is that the economy is getting better. The bad news is that experts believe this is contributing to truck accidents. Americans are increasingly taking advantage of the economic upturn by buying items online. And with services like Amazon.com promising two-day shipping, they’ve come to expect quick delivery.

The U.S. has experienced a rise in catastrophic motor vehicle accidents involving commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, each year in the U.S. truck accidents kill nearly 4,000 people and injury 100,000 more. In 2012, there were 3,921 fatalities and 104,000 injuries from truck crashes in U.S. This represents an 18% increase from 2009.

But why is the number of truck crashes increasing? The overarching reason is pressure on trucking companies to deliver items quickly. Speedy delivery is difficult when there are at least 30,000 unfilled truck driver jobs in the U.S. With a lack of experienced drivers, companies feel pressured to do more with less. This makes it likely that drivers are not  getting enough rest or taking enough breaks. It is also possible that trucks are not being properly maintained.

Another factor affecting the number of truck crashes — the tires on the trucks are usually not designed to handle maximum constant speeds over 75 mph. As more states raise speed limits on highways above 65 mph, truckers are driving faster.

Some lawmakers want to implement a new set of safety rules requiring drivers to have a two consecutive nights of rest between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. The trucking industry opposes these new rules arguing that the forced nighttime breaks put more drivers on the roads during the busy morning rush hours.

If you find yourself involved in an accident with a truck, contact us to discuss your options.

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