An analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined that speeding was the number one factor in truck accidents last year. The analysis is part of the Federal motor carrier Safety Administration’s efforts to understand the reasons for the decline in fatal truck accidents last year. In 2009, there was a significant decline of 20.4% in the number of truck accident fatalities in the US. There was also a similar decline in the number of fatal truck accidents last year.
The analysis classified the top 10 factors in truck crashes in 2009. Truckers driving at excessive speeds accounted for 7.3% of accidents last year. The same number of truck accidents was also linked to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Next on the list were a failure to keep in lane, distracted driving, failing to yield right of way, failure to obey traffic laws, over correcting, fatigued driving, following improperly and making an improper turn.
It surprised New York truck accident attorneys to learn that fatigued driving is not as much of a factor in fatal truck accidents as is generally believed. Drivers operating a heavy commercial truck in a fatigued state only caused about 1.4% of truck accidents last year.
The findings are interesting because the FMCSA and other related safety agencies are currently looking at reworking trucking safety rules to address the question of driver fatigue. For instance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently in the process of revising Hours of Service rules for truckers, in order to prevent truckers from driving in a fatigued state. Since fatigued driving only accounted for just over 1% of all fatal truck accidents last year, should the agency go easy on the issue of fatigued driving now?
As New York truck accident attorneys, we certainly don’t believe so. There have been other economic reasons for the decline in fatal truck accidents last year, like the overall recession that impacted the trucking industry too. Therefore, this analysis is not the right basis for us to be making future decisions that will impact trucking safety.