By: Allan M. Siegel
Late last month, the
New York Times published an opinion piece on the need for tougher trucking regulations.
The article -
The Trucks are Killing Us - begins by pointing out some alarming statistics regarding tractor-trailer
accidents and the tremendous damage they can cause on U.S roadways. The
- More people in the U.S. will be killed in truck accidents this year than
have been killed in all U.S. commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years.
- Fatalities in traffic accidents involving commercial trucks rose 17% from
- From 2009-2013, fatalities in truck accidents have risen year over year.
In 2013, the latest year for which data is available - there were 3,964
deaths caused by truck-involved crashes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that commercial
vehicle accidents - including bus accidents, cost roughly $99 billion each year
These statistics are nothing short of alarming, and if you to pay attention,
it’s easy to realize these tragic crashes happen all the time. In
fact, there seems to nearly always be news stories of truck accidents
causing injuries and deaths, often to multiple victims. Amid the barrage
of news media, however, only the most sensational tractor-trailer accidents
get significant coverage - such as the crash that seriously injured Tracey
Morgan, killed his friend and fellow comedian, and injured numerous others.
According to the op-ed author, this trend will persist if Congress continues
to impede regulators’ abilities to oversee the trucking industry.
In fact, Congress has even recently made efforts to roll back some safety
improvements in the trucking industry, including:
- A push to permit truck drivers to work longer weeks - an increase from
the current 70-hour limit over 8 days.
- Open discouragement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) investing in wireless technology to improve oversight of truck
drivers and vehicles.
- Expanding the maximum length and weight of commercial trucks.
- A proposed bill to lower the federal minimum age of interstate truck drivers
from 21 to 18.
As the article makes clear by calling out Congress and the cold hard facts,
lawmakers need to tighten safety regulations surrounding the trucking industry,
not loosen them. Stronger standards may not eliminate all risks, but they can certainly
help eliminate a number of preventable accidents - accidents like Tracy
Morgan’s, which was caused by a fatigued driver who had been awake
for more than 24 hours.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our attorneys have worked
with numerous individuals and families who suffered injuries and life-altering
setbacks as a result of negligent trucking operators. We share the same
roads as our clients, as do most local residents, and we believe regulators
need support and resources in order to make these roads safe. Without
it, we can only expect these tragic accidents to continue.
If you have questions about your legal rights after a
truck accident, contact our firm. You can read the
NYT full article