We have written before about how semi-trucks cause a disproportionate number of deaths. Because of the vast difference in size and weight between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle, these crashes are much more destructive and devastating than a collision involving two passenger vehicles.
These facts came into light particularly in a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that showed a jump in percentage of fatalities in truck accidents from 2015, both in total vehicle fatalities as well as fatalities involving large trucks. Now, a number of members of Congress have joined together to introduce the “Stop Underrides Act of 2017” to decrease figures like these:
- The number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. last year: 37,461.
- The number of people killed in crashes that involved large trucks: 4,317.
- The percentage of people killed in large truck crashes that were not occupants of the truck: 72.4 percent. As written, the bipartisan bills, which were introduced Dec. 13 in the U.S. House and Senate, would require trucks to have underride guards on their sides and fronts. The piece of legislation also shows how the guards on the back of trucks need to be updated as well.
Driving an 80,000 tractor trailer covering hundreds of thousands of miles is an awesome responsibility. Truckers and trucking corporations must be vigilant about safety. The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) lists the following as some of the most common causes of big rig accidents:
- Driver Fatigue (Tiredness)
- Poor Driver Training
- Poor Driving Conditions
- Driver Inexperience
- Failure To Yield The Right-Of-Way
- Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol Or Drugs
- Aggressive, Dangerous Or Reckless Driving
- Mechanical Failure (Or Improper Maintenance)
- Defective Parts (Such As Defective Steering Or Brakes)
- Overloaded Trucks
- Oversized Trucks
- Brake Failure
Truckers and trucking companies must be mindful of each of these trucking accident causes.
Driver fatigue is a particularly dangerous — and completely preventable — cause of trucking accidents. We have written before about the dangers of fatigued truckers on the highways. The NTSB has found that trucker fatigue was a contributing factor in 30%-40% of all diesel truck accidents. The NTSB found that proper sleep patterns are imperative for truck driver safety. Truckers must get 8 hours of continuous sleep after driving for 10 hours or after being on duty for 15 hours for proper safety.
The NTSB has issued warnings that truck drivers should also be screened for a medical condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea denies people the rest they need, and it has been found to be a factor in incident involving every transportation mode.
As an attorney at Langdon & Emison with offices in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri as well as Chicago, Illinois, David Brose represents victims across the country that have been seriously injured or killed in a wide variety of accidents, including automobile fires, defective automobile design, semi-truck collisions and other types of dangerous products.