According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks were involved in fatal crashes 4,440 times in 2016. In addition to these fatal commercial truck accidents, there were at least another 119,000 truck accidents which caused serious injury (out of the half a million total truck accidents which occur annually). Any time a passenger vehicle collides with a large commercial truck, those in the passenger vehicle are extremely likely to suffer serious injury or death. There is simply too much disparity in size between the vehicles, particularly when the truck is loaded.
Lawmakers Decline to Implement Commercial Truck Safety Measures
According to a 2017 commercial truck safety overview, despite the number of large commercial truck accidents each year, the last few years have seen one truck safety proposal after another ignored by lawmakers. Just a few examples include:
- In 2015 Congress was asked to allow longer and heavier trucks on the roadways. While those efforts were largely rejected, Congress did approve a number of exceptions and waivers to federal weight limits.
- In March 2017, the FMCSA abandoned attempts to require truck drivers to take a 34-hour rest period at least once a week after lawmakers received significant opposition from drivers and motor carriers.
- In March 2016, the FMCSA worked with the Federal Railroad Administration to require commercial drivers who exhibited specific risk factors to be screened for sleep apnea, yet Congress prohibited the FMCSA from addressing sleep apnea among truck and train drivers.
Truck Accidents Could Be Significantly Decreased with Technology
Despite these decisions, there are ways to significantly decrease the number of large commercial truck accidents each year. In fact, Triple A reports on the specific safety technologies which could be installed in large commercial trucks, effectively preventing as many as 63,000 truck related crashes each and every year. These technologies include:
- Equipping all existing and new trucks with lane departure warning systems, which could effectively prevent as many as 6,372 truck crashes annually;
- Equipping all existing and new trucks with video-based onboard safety monitoring systems, which could prevent more than 60,000 truck crashes each year;
- Equipping all new trucks with automatic braking, which could prevent as many as 5,204 truck collisions per year, and
- Equipping all new trucks with air disc brakes, which could prevent as many as 2,411 truck accidents each year.
When you consider the fact that truck drivers—like most American drivers—are more and more often distracted, fatigued or impaired while driving, these technologies could save a significant number of lives. When traveling at 65 mph, a fully loaded truck takes almost twice as long to stop as a passenger vehicle. Automatic braking systems detect an imminent crash, automatically applying the brakes when the driver fails to do so. Air disc brakes, while costing a bit more, have definite performance and maintenance advantages over traditional drum brakes, providing quicker stops and a shorter stopping distance.
Lane departure warning systems immediately warn a truck driver whenever the truck veers out of its lane, and onboard video monitoring systems monitor the behaviors and performance of the truck driver. These video monitoring systems can detect many of the driving behaviors which cause truck accidents, such as driver fatigue, distracted driving and impaired driving. As you might expect, motor carriers are resisting potential laws which would require these technologies on all trucks.
Getting the Help You Need Following a Truck Accident
Since we must share the roadways with large commercial trucks—and since we have little control over whether safety laws are implemented by Congress—those involved in a truck accident almost always need help. Your client’s ability to get treatment for their injuries and assistance with their crash-related expenses can, unfortunately, be limited, however help can come from USClaims. At USClaims, pre-settlement funding can help your clients pay those unexpected truck accident expenses (including medical costs and lost wages) in anticipation of a court judgment or settlement.
At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, if a case is qualified for pre-settlement funding then we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. USClaims only gets paid if a case is won or has reached a settlement! Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.