The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that after many years on the decline, crashes involving large commercial trucks are now on the rise. Commercial trucks account for 4.7 percent of all vehicles on U.S. roadways, yet are involved in more than 12 percent of all fatal collisions. Fatal accidents are 17 percent higher (per mile driven) for commercial trucks than passenger vehicles. Those discrepancies are a cause for serious concern among safety advocates. As the number of truck crashes climbs, industry experts are looking for possible causes.
Demand for More Drivers
As online commerce continues to grow, the expectation for goods to be shipped quickly also grows. That means more commercial trucks on U.S. highways every day, thus creating a need for more drivers. Estimates indicate that as many as 100,000 drivers are needed in 2017 to fill the current driver shortage. Additionally, the trucking industry has a high turnover rate, possibly because of the long hours and time away from home the job requires. With so many jobs to fill quickly, some fleets may unfortunately relax their qualifications and training standards for new hires. This may create the potential for a high number of inexperienced commercial truck drivers on the road.
Another possible reason for the increase in commercial truck accidents may be related to the compensation system for truck drivers. Most big rig drivers are paid on the basis of miles traveled, rather than the hours worked. That gives drivers a financial incentive to drive further and take fewer breaks. Research tells us that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A tired driver in control of an 80,000 pound machine is a sobering thought. When drivers have to choose between safety and productivity, no one wins.
The FMCSA conducted 5.5 million roadside driver and vehicle inspections in 2016. More than 630,000 of those resulted in at least one violation, keeping those trucks off the road until the issues were corrected. The most common violations included trucks that were missing required lamps, brakes out of adjustment, and trucks operating without a required inspection.
Despite these violations, it should be said that many truck accidents are not the result of truck driver negligence. In fact, the Department of Transportation partnered with AAA to study fatal truck accidents, and found that around two-thirds of them were caused by the driver of a smaller passenger vehicle. Other drivers often fail to realize how much time and space a tractor-trailer needs to stop and how much room they need to turn, cutting them off and causing serious collisions.
Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Pursue Compensation for Those Injured in Commercial Truck Accidents
The Delaware truck accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC advocate for injured truck accident victims and their families. Call our Wilmington, Delaware office at 302-888-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We also have offices in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania, and Haddonfield, New Jersey to serve you.