Large commercial trucks continue to be one of the most significant hazards on U.S. roads and highways – and it is easy to see why. These giant trucks can weigh 20-30 times more than standard personal vehicles, and they are often being operated by drivers facing a host of challenges, from sleep deprivation to unreasonable delivery deadlines.
The consequences of truck accidents are even clearer when looking at crash statistics. In 2019, more than 5,000 people were killed in truck accidents in the United States, which is nearly double the rate killed in 2009. Another 159,000 people suffered non-fatal injuries that year.
We cannot simply dismiss these injuries and deaths as the “cost of doing business.” There need to be accountability measures allowing trucks to remain on the road while better protecting other drivers and passengers. Thankfully, this subject has been extensively studied, and safety advocacy groups regularly make evidence-based recommendations.
The 2021 trucking safety list
Each year, a group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety releases a report studying traffic laws and regulations at the state and federal levels and issues recommendations that would improve traffic safety. The 18th edition of the report was just released and includes numerous regulatory ideas regarding the trucking industry.
Here are some those recommendations:
- Make speed-limiting devices required as standard equipment
- Require features that include automated emergency braking on trucks
- Mandate underride guards on trailers to prevent smaller cars from becoming trapped under them during a collision
- Improve the quality and rigor of training for entry-level truck drivers
- Implement more stringent screening for sleep apnea among truck drivers, who are known to suffer from this fatigue-causing medical condition at higher rates than the general public
None of these changes is impractical or unduly expensive. They simply require the willingness to implement common-sense reforms to an industry that has historically been very resistant to outside attempts at regulation.
Until or unless these changes are made, truck accidents will continue to wreak havoc on American roads. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a negligent truck driver, please discuss your legal options with an attorney today.