Trucking accidents are some of the most devastating accidents that occur on our highways every day. According to The New York Times, large trucks are disproportionately involved in fatal accidents, causing one-fourth of all traffic accidents which cause fatalities. This is in comparison to a mere 10% of overall non-fatal accidents. Big rigs and 18-wheelers carry an incredible amount of weight and force behind them, so when a truck accident occurs, the impact usually results in serious injuries or an unfortunate loss of life.Despite these facts, the trucking industry has been quite slow to make changes to how its drivers are regulated and how its trucks are built. With just a few changes, the industry could make a large impact on how many truck accidents happen and the implications of those accidents. Here are four things the trucking industry could do to stop devastating accidents:
Utilize Collision-Avoidance Technology
Collision-avoidance technology is becoming increasingly available in all cars and trucks—even large trucks. The technology can be used to stop rear-end collisions from happening, but only 3% of Class 8 trucks—the largest, heaviest tractor trailers—are equipped with any version of it.
Improve Truck Safety Features
Aside from collision-avoidance technology, most automakers now automatically offer airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability controls in all vehicles—including tractor trailers. The United States trucking industry, however, avoids all three safety features due to the increased cost factor. In other countries like Europe, for example, all commercial trucks are equipped with the latest safety features.
Enforce Rest Time for Drivers
Congress—following the trucking industry’s bidding—has tried more than once to roll back work hour regulations which were put into place by the federal government. Current regulations state that drivers must take 34 hours off after driving for 70 hours over eight days. The trucking industry wants to allow truck drivers to work 82 hours per week which doesn’t allow for hardly any days off. Forcing drivers to take a couple days off to rest in between long trips would go a long way to stopping deadly accidents from occurring.
Enforce Shorter Work Days
In addition to pushing for long weeks, the U.S. trucking industry continues to push for longer work days for drivers. Current regulations state that drivers can work for 14 hours a day. That’s a long time to spend behind the wheel of a massive truck. Pushing for an even longer workday seems excessive.
With how rapidly technology advances, it’s time for the trucking industry to realize the importance of advanced vehicle technology and how it can and does save lives. It’s also vital for the industry to prioritize the health and safety of its drivers—and of the entire American population—instead of prioritizing profit. At the end of the day, it isn’t just the truck drivers who are placed at jeopardy, after all. It’s every driver, passenger, and pedestrian who shares the roads with those drivers.
If you or someone you love was in a devastating car accident with a tractor trailer or large commercial truck, you may be entitled to file a case against the trucking industry if the accident was caused by company negligence. Contact Louisville, KY tractor trailer lawyer Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices for more information. Tad Thomas is a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in cases opposing major corporations and industries like the trucking industry. He knows how to fight for the safety of the American population.