The Truck Safety Coalition reports an increase in fatalities involving large truck crashes for 2016 due to troubling safety trends that have gone unresolved since 2009.
Trucking Safety Concerns
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data on accidents and injuries involving large trucks. The data showed 4,317 fatalities, a 5.5 percent increase in deaths involving crashes with large trucks over 2015, and a 28 percent increase since 2009. The Truck Safety Coalition reports that an increase in fatalities is not a surprise since concerns about large truck safety have been ongoing since 2009 when they first brought safety concerns to the attention of legislators.
In 2009, the Truck Safety Coalition informed Congress of troubling safety concerns for large trucks and provided solutions to improve truck safety. They recommended advanced technologies like heavy vehicle speed limiters, automatic emergency braking systems, and automated mileage logs to help reduce the number of hours that truckers spend on the road. They also suggested improved training for truck drivers that would increase their knowledge of new technologies and required maintenance. According to the Truck Safety Coalition, the U.S. Department of Transportation delayed making improvements to truck safety, canceled the implementation of screening for sleep apnea in truckers, and put off increasing minimum insurance requirements.
Delaying regulations that would prevent drowsy driving and other dangerous trucking behaviors and fail to ensure that truckers are educated about the maintenance requirements of their trucks only impedes progress in truck accident prevention.
Two of the most common safety issues that cause truck crashes seen by a truck accident lawyer are faulty brakes and bad tires.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), faulty brakes account for a big percentage of large truck accidents. Although brake safety standards are highly regulated, maintenance falls to the truck driver who is required to perform regular inspections and maintenance to check for broken or missing parts and air leaks in the brake chamber.
Worn treads, mismatched tires, and Improper air pressure result in serious accidents and fatalities involving large trucks. The typical weight of a large commercial truck is 10,000 to 50,000 pounds, so good tires are essential to ensure safe maneuverability and even weight distribution. Tires that are worn or improperly inflated can compromise safety and lead to sudden blowouts that cause trucks to skid, jackknife or roll over.