Why are commercial truck accidents on the rise? In 2009 we had a really great low point for truck-related accident deaths. Recently, we went from an historic low to a crazy high!
There are a number of factors that contribute to making commercial trucks dangerous vehicles. First, training and supervision for truck drivers themselves is poorly policed. The lack of regulation is creating a growing number of unsafe truck drivers on our roads. Not only are they inadequately trained, but to make matters worse, they are overworked! That means they are pushed by the freight companies who hire them to make better time and drive under sleep-deprived conditions.
But there are even greater problems with this situation. The laws related to trucks are not uniform across each state, and the insurance laws are now outdated. They completely fail to force the truck drivers to carry enough insurance coverage to pay for the damages they cause when an accident happens.
This is a really important issue because when trucks are uninsured or underinsured it forces a shift in the cost burden from private trucks to the taxpayers, to the injured victim’s medical insurance carrier and mostly, to Medicare and Medicaid.
For example, truck crashes often have a fatal result. The average cost of that terrible loss is just over $4.3 million in direct costs! However, the insurance laws only force the cargo trucks to carry a minimum of $750,000. Why? Because in 1980 this was the required amount, and the law does not require minimums to be adjusted for inflation. If the levels would have been adjusted to reflect the rise in medical costs, then the current rate would be $4.4 million. We need trucks to carry more insurance. When they are underinsured, the freight companies and their drivers are taking risks that are obviously jeopardizing public safety.
Get this: In 2011 there were more than 3,750 people killed by commercial trucks and operated by negligent drivers; there were more than 88,000 non-fatal injuries. This may be correlated with the fact that trucking companies were sited with more than 28,000 safety violations during that same year. Did you know that three times more people die in commercial truck accidents than in aviation, boating and railroad accidents combined in any given year? We handle a lot of boating cases in our firm, and to imagine three times more deaths from trucks is incredible. Also, size does matter. In a fatal accident involving an automobile and a truck, it is 97% more likely that the occupant in the car will be the one who is killed.
Don’t become the victim in a truck accident. Stay away from trucks on the road. Don’t tailgate them. Don’t ride in their blind spots. Don’t allow them to tailgate you! Always be aware of a truck that is swaying or driving erratically.
If you are involved in a commercial truck accident call our office. We handle truck accidents across the United States. We understand the special regulations necessary to properly handle these types of cases and bring them to a point of maximum compensation.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Gualberto107
Brian F. LaBovick, Esq. is the founder and managing shareholder of LaBovick Law Group, a boutique trial law firm focusing on injury cases throughout the state of Florida. Mr. LaBovick is dedicated to helping victims and protecting their rights within our legal system. He is an award-winning and AV-rated attorney.