Number of Truck Accidents Spike, New Legislation Proposed
Posted on February 1st, 2012 by Zane Cagle
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), deaths from crashes with large trucks increased 8.7% in 2010 compared to 2009. In 2010, 3,675 motorists died in truck accidents compared to 3,380 in 2009. However, motor vehicle crashes overall decreased in the U.S. for the same time period. In 2010, there were 32,885 deaths from auto accidents but in 2009, there were 33,803. This is a 2.9% decrease according to NHTSA data. According to NHTSA, the only other time in history where there was a decline in deaths due to auto accidents actually declined was in 1949.
When we look at numbers such as 32,885 in relation to deaths, it is daunting. When the percentage of those accidents involve semi -trucks, the death toll and serious injury statistics are like to increase as well. The motorist in a mid-size or economy sized car can hardly go against a 80,000 pound semi truck and come out okay.
Lawmakers are examining the serious problem of semi truck on our nation’s roadways. Considering this statistical increase, several lawmakers and safety groups are using the statistics to gain ground on passing safety legislation. The Cagle Law Firm applauds more safety regulations on commercial carriers.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011
According to Jacqueline Gillian, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, “the distressing news that there are more truck crash fatalities in 2010 is a clear and compelling call for stronger regulations, tougher oversight and sustained enforcement of motor carriers across the country.” Several safety groups are pushing for the house and senate to pass the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety enhancement Act of 2011 to mandate the following new safety regulations for truck and bus operators:
-Require commercial drivers to use electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) with the goal of improving compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules and reducing fatigue of truck drivers.
-Increase the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) power to crack down on so-called “reincarnated carriers,” those operators that reopen illegally after being closed down due to safety issues.
-Require the establishment of a clearinghouse of alcohol and controlled substance testing records of commercial operators
-Fund research on the safety impact of larger and heavier trucks on the infrastructure
Supporters of the bill claim the bill would make roadways safer for all motorists. The CMV bill proposal comes after the recent cell phone ban for commercial drivers. As of January 1, 2012, truck and bus drivers were prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while driving regardless of whether they were texting or talking. Some in the trucking industry argue that such regulations neglect to consider how the actions o motorists in passenger vehicles cause collisions. According to the ATA President of Safety Policy, 80% of crashes and near crashes between passenger vehicles and large trucks were initiated by the drivers of the passenger vehicles.
Whether the CMV bills passes or is defeated, hopefully the very existence of such a bill will help raise awareness about truck and motor vehicle safety. Each one of us on the road are responsible to be certain we are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as each motorists must be aware and focused on driving during the entire time they are driving.
Our office sees tragedies on a daily basis of auto and truck accidents. Many serious injuries could be avoided if drivers would simply be sober and attentive. While collisions are called “accidents” they will continue to occur because they are usually caused by some human error. All of our efforts and support to increasing safety for all drivers our goal.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident or a truck accident, it is important to consult a personal injury attorney before accepting any insurance money. Determining the extent of your injuries is the first step before evaluating the value of your claim. Zane T. Cagle of The Cagle Law Firm assists motor vehicle victims with serious injuries. Consultations to determine your options are always free at 1(314) 276-1681