Our Highways Aren’t Safe, and Trucking Companies Are to Blame
For decades, trucking companies have successfully lobbied against regulations and reforms that could make the trucking industry safer. Now, the most recent Commercial Vehicle Safety Report from Wards Intelligence shows that the trucking industry is failing to make safety improvements and is even causing more truck accidents over time.
Keep reading to learn more about the troubling trends in commercial trucking safety and how they often lead to disastrous consequences for ordinary drivers. And if you or someone you love has been involved in a crash with a large truck and suffered serious injuries, contact Atkins & Markoff today to discuss your case and your legal options at no cost to you.
About the Wards Commercial Vehicle Safety Report
The trucking industry is fond of boasting that they’ve improved commercial vehicle safety through driver education and adoption of new technologies. Unfortunately, the industry’s claims don’t match up with reality. Experienced trucking attorneys know this, and data from the Wards 2018 Commercial Vehicle Safety Report shows it as well.
Industry experts regard the Commercial Vehicle Safety Report from Wards Intelligence as the benchmark for establishing trends in commercial vehicle safety. The authors of the report conduct an extensive and objective review of public and proprietary crash data from the preceding 10 years to make conclusions about safety in the trucking industry. Besides combing federal records and proprietary data from the company FleetSeek, the team behind the 2018 report also conducted a survey to gauge how many trucking companies had implemented new safety technologies like automatic braking systems.
“We examined each individual metric, pointing out significant changes and the likely causes for those changes,” said the report’s lead author, Jim Mele, who also serves as the editor-in-chief of Fleet Owner magazine. “The result is a detailed look at the [trucking] industry’s successes and failures as well as the most likely opportunities for future safety improvements.”
After extensive research and analysis, Mele and his team concluded that commercial vehicle safety hadn’t improved and had possibly even worsened over the past decade. Overall, the report found that fatal crashes involving trucks increased in total and by total vehicle miles every year between 2011 and 2015 except for a small decrease in 2014.
“Everyone associated with trucking will claim safety as a top priority, and in almost all cases they believe they are doing everything they can to live up to that claim,” the report says. “Yet data collected from a variety of government and private sources show significant numbers of trucks are involved in accidents that result in expensive property damage, cause serious injuries and sometimes result in fatalities. And those numbers are not getting better.”
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Poor Safety Practices From Trucking Companies Make Oklahoma Roads More Dangerous
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of every nine highway deaths results from a collision with a tractor-trailer. Truck crashes often cause severe trauma such as spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), loss of limbs, and debilitating fractures.
Big-rig trucks and other commercial vehicles are massive, and they travel fast. But it’s not just these vehicles’ size that makes them dangerous. Large trucks pose a danger to ordinary drivers because of irresponsible practices and widespread safety issues within the trucking industry. Deadly truck wrecks often result from negligent behaviors and practices that include:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets rules that govern how long truck drivers can operate their vehicles without rest. Unfortunately, trucking companies often pressure their drivers to break these rules or risk losing their jobs, all so the trucking company can squeeze out extra profits. This pressure to break regulations and drive dangerously long shifts often leaves drivers fatigued and vulnerable to making deadly mistakes.
Lack of Training
Operating a commercial vehicle is much more complex and challenging than driving a standard passenger car or truck. But many professional truckers never receive the training they need to safely operate their massive, complicated vehicles. When these drivers encounter a hazard on the road, their lack of training leaves them underprepared and much more likely to make a critical error.
Failure to Adopt New Technologies
Technological innovations like dynamic routing, camera systems, collision mitigation technology, driver scorecards, and electronic logging devices can reduce crash rates and make our highways safer for truckers and ordinary drivers alike. Unfortunately, many trucking companies have been slow to implement these technologies, and even many companies who have adopted them have failed to train their drivers on how to use them properly.
These types of negligent behaviors and poor safety practices would be bad enough for drivers operating regular-sized vehicles. When fatigued and undertrained drivers get behind the wheel of 40-ton trucks that are underequipped for safe driving, the result is often tragedy.
RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: Why Early Investigation Is Key After a Truck Accident
Contact Atkins & Markoff for Help After a Truck Accident in Oklahoma
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident with a large truck or bus, contact Atkins & Markoff by calling (405) 607-8757 or completing this quick and easy form to schedule your free consultation. We’ll use this time to discuss the circumstances of the wreck, learn about any injuries or fatalities sustained, and inform you of your legal options moving forward.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Oklahoma is only two years from the date of the incident or the victim’s death, so please don’t wait to act. Reach out today to find out how we can help.
Mele, J., & Brim, G. (2018). 2018 Commercial Vehicle Safety Report: Who, where, and why of truck safety performance. Southfield, MI: Wards Intelligence.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.