In 2012, there were four percent more deaths in truck accidents than in 2011. There were also 18 percent more truck accident injuries. The increase in people injured or killed should disturb any motorist, especially since things may continue to get worse due to trucker shortages.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has taken steps to try to reduce the risk of collisions with trucks, but some believe that those efforts could actually increase accidents. Drivers and passengers in traditional vehicles are often the ones who pay for truck accidents with their lives or health, as 73 percent of victims killed are non-truck occupants.
Clearly, more needs to be done to make the roads safer for drivers and reduce truck collisions. Truckers need to make a commitment to safety and trucking companies need to be held liable for losses. A Detroit truck accident lawyer at Fraser & Souweidane, P.C. can help victims of collisions involving commercial motor vehicles.
The Increasing Risk of Truck Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides data on the increase in accidents from 2011 to 2012, but does not explain the cause of the higher rates of injury and death. One possibility is a severe trucker shortage.
The trucking industry may have a shortage of as many as 200,000 qualified drivers, and professional trucking associations site inadequate driver numbers as one of the top industry challenges. Older drivers are retiring and young people are not filling the trucking jobs because they don't want to be on the road and away from their families.
Trucking companies have attempted to take a creative approach to solve this problem. One freight company in Flint Township, Michigan, is reportedly offering a free three-week course on truck driving for veterans who have been recently discharged. The hope is to find qualified and reliable drivers. Veterans who complete the course successfully are guaranteed a job.
These approaches, unfortunately, may mean that there are drivers with less experience driving large trucks. Companies could also pressure drivers to take on more work than they should, as recruiters indicate that they are short of people to take the routes they need to fill.
It can cost more than twice as much to insure an inexperienced driver as compared with a driver with experience and a clean driving record. Companies pay around $4,800 to insure a driver with experience compared to $10,000 for an untested trucker. The higher costs show just how great of a risk it is for an inexperienced trucker to be on the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's recent safety efforts include developing a voluntary pre-employment screening program and changing the hours-of-service rules to reduce the amount of time that truckers can drive. While the FMCSA may believe these rules are helpful, they may not actually do anything to solve the problem of inexperienced drivers on the road. After all, a trucker who has no driving history isn't going to fail a pre-employment screening that tests for past accidents. Truckers may also feel pressure to disregard the hours-of-service rules and drive for longer than permitted by law. Further, by requiring certain rest breaks to take place overnight, the FMCSA rules may leave more truckers on the road during peak drive times.
Preventing accidents should be the priority and clearly truckers and trucking companies need to do more to keep motorists safe.
A Detroit truck accident lawyer can help victims of a collision. Contact Fraser & Souweidane, P.C. at (866) 465-9095 or visit www.fsattorneys.com to schedule a free consultation.