There are about 15.5 million trucks operating in the U.S. and, of this figure, two million are semi-trailers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatal accidents involving semi-trailers happen almost 11 times a day. This means more than 4,000 deaths yearly; non-fatal accidents, on the other hand, number to more than 100,000 every year. While there may be fewer truck accidents than accidents involving cars, the results of these accidents are always more destructive and tragic due to a truck’s huge size. In 2014 alone, an estimated 3,903 individuals (truck drivers, drivers of smaller vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians) were killed and at least 111,000 others were injured in large trucks accidents, which number about half a million every year.
Despite the threats presented by trucks, drivers of smaller vehicles will just have to get used to sharing the road with them and learn, instead the techniques of defensive driving when they find themselves sharing the road with a semi-trailer.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the FMCSA pass and implement laws that will help lessen the fear of many motorists from driving alongside trucks. Besides seeing to it that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers will be allowed to operate this huge vehicles, there are also laws that determine the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest or the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit (trucks drivers who would be caught with a BAC level of 0.04% can be charged of DUI or drinking under the influence). Other laws include the prohibition of the use of cell phone while behind the wheel, equipping the truck with a sleeper berth where a driver can rest or sleep in between driving duties, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and using only tires and brakes that comply with federal safety standards.
Despite the enforcement of trucking laws, however, many employers manage to make their drivers operate a truck longer than the maximum number of hours of service allowed. Many also get away with hiring drivers who do not possess the required skill and then fail to train them about the safe operation of trucks, as well as fail to impose disciplinary actions on drivers who cited for traffic violations, especially DUI.
Hiring a driver despite his/her bad driving record or keeping a driver despite repeated traffic violations is an act of negligent hiring – a major offense committed by employers who are concerned with profit rather than the safety of their own driver and of many others on the road.
It is mentioned in Mazin & Associates PC‘s website how a car accident can very well result in permanent disability or death. The chances of these are definitely higher if one of the vehicles involved in an accident is a semi-trailer. These results are just two of the many reasons why a victim of a truck accident should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident – to help him/her seek the compensation which will enable him/her to get the medical care and treatment that he/she needs, besides ensuring coverage for all damages resulting from the accident.