Truck accidents continue to cause fatalities

Large truck accidents continue to be involved in many fatal crashes throughout New York.

New Yorkers have long been concerned about motor vehicle accidents caused by commercial vehicles. When looking at fatality statistics, it is clear that this concern is merited. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 118 people died in these crashes in 2013. That is out of a total number of vehicular fatalities of 1,199. Details for prior years include the following:

  • In 2012, 1,180 people died in all accidents and 100 died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2011, 1,171 people died in all accidents and 114 died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2010, 1,201 people died in all accidents and 120 died in large truck accidents.
  • In 2009, 1,158 people died in all accidents and 107 died in large truck accidents.

Many factors can contribute to tractor-trailer accidents. Finding ways to prevent more of these wrecks is important and is what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking to do. Two particular factors-impaired driving and fatigue-are both areas that the FMCSA is hoping to address.

How can impairment be reduced?

The FMCSA is building a new database that will be the central source for pre-hire screenings for all commercial drivers. The Commercial Carrier Journal explains that the database will contain information on drug and alcohol test results and any violations. No driver can legally be hired in a driving position without successfully passing substance testing.

For a while, the FMCSA conducted random substance tests. According to Bulk Transporter, the number of failed or potentially failed tests has led the agency to decide to continue this practice.

How can fatigue be reduced?

In early 2013, new rules outlining a reduction in the number of driving hours per week as well as designated break times and durations went into effect. The purpose of this legislation was to reduce truck driver fatigue. However, many industry groups opposed the new rules.

The U.S. Congress has gotten involved in the controversy and placed a hold on the rules. Supply Chain Digest notes that this gives the FMCSA more time to research the change, its impact and potential benefits. Collecting data has been challenging according to OverdriveOnline.com. For this reason, the stay could last longer than originally planned. Whether or not the existing laws governing work hours and breaks may change is yet to be determined.

What can New Yorkers do?

Safe driving practices are important but they may not always be enough to avoid a serious accident with a large truck. Anyone who has been injured or lost a family member in a truck accident should contact an attorney promptly.