Experts: trucking industry responsible for increase in accidents

Experts found that illegal acts within the trucking industry are to blame for the recent increase in fatal truck accidents.

Although it is common to encounter large trucks when driving on Illinois roads and highways, many people find the experience intimidating. A common worry is what would happen if the truck, which outweighs all passenger vehicles many times over, were involved in a collision. Unfortunately, when this happens, those in the passenger vehicle are at a great disadvantage and are likely to be injured or worse.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently released some statistics that will likely make motorists shudder the next time they see trucks on the road. According to the data, fatal truck accidents climbed 18 percent between 2009 and 2012. Today, a fatal truck accident occurs 11 times each day, according to the statistics.

Perhaps even scarier is the fact that the data also suggests that the increase in truck accidents was not caused by a simple increase in the number of trucks on the road. During the 2009-2012 period, which was a period of economic recession, the number of trucks in serviced dropped by 2.86 percent.

Why did the number of fatal accidents increase as the number of trucks on the road decreased? Experts recently released a couple of explanations. The first explanation is that the trucking industry has been recently experiencing a shortage of experienced drivers. This is mainly because the job of a driver is often a solitary one, with long hours away from home. As a result, driver turnover is high. Because of this phenomenon, trucking companies have turned to newly licensed drivers, that do not have many hours behind the wheel, to fill the need.

Experts also blame the increase in accidents on trucking companies themselves. Since these companies are compensated on their ability to make the maximum number of deliveries on tight deadlines, they put pressure on drivers to skip rest breaks and work longer than legal limits. As a result, many truck accidents are caused by fatigued drivers.

Although ignoring safety regulations is illegal, many drivers say that they are under pressure to manipulate their logbooks in order to allow them to maximize the number of miles driven each day. In pursuit of profits, drivers that do this often put other motorists at great risk. For example, earlier this summer in Illinois, a trucker crashed into three vehicles, killing five other motorists. The driver was later charged with falsifying his logbook.

Speak to an attorney

Although trucking companies that skirt the law can face fines and other penalties, it is often an insufficient deterrent. Sadly, in many cases, it is only after a lawsuit that companies see the error of their ways. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a truck accident, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers at Healy Scanlon Law Firm can work with investigators to determine the precise cause of the accident and ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their neglect.

Keywords: truck accidents