Trucking industry advocates often point to falling accident rates as well as the importance of trucking. They speak of the importance of safety in the industry, and it is true that many truckers and trucking companies do work hard to create a safe environment on the road.
While trucking is an important part of the economy, however, just how safe is the industry?
The truth is that truck accidents in Homestead and surrounding communities still cause devastating injuries and cost lives each year. In many cases, these injuries occur to the occupants of passenger vehicles. According to some statistics, in fatal collisions involving passenger vehicles and trucks, in about 98% of cases, the fatalities involve someone inside the smaller vehicle. In these types of traffic accidents in Homestead and other cities, there is simply no contest. A passenger vehicle may weigh one or two tons while a commercial truck may weigh 40 tons. In addition, the truck driver is usually situated quite high and often well out of harm’s way.
According to the Department of Transportation, in 2011 alone over 4000 people were killed in accidents involving buses and large trucks. What is worrying is that in a number of serious truck accidents in Homestead and other cities, driver fatigue has played a role. In some accidents, drunk driving or other preventable causes were at work.
According to some safety advocates, more can and should be done to prevent unsafe driving and truck accidents. There is already technology in place that could help prevent some accidents. For example, there are GPS systems and on-board cameras that could help monitor drivers to ensure that they are traveling safe speeds and are not falling asleep at the wheel. Underride guards could also help prevent many underrride accidents.
One of the big issues with many truck accidents is record keeping. Under current federal laws, commercial trucks must carefully document each shipment and cargo. Truck drivers must also check in with weigh stations and must keep a log of hours rested and hours driven. As many personal injury attorneys in Homestead and other cities know, however, these systems are not foolproof. After a serious accident, attorneys subpoena records and sometimes find that motor carriers and drivers sometimes violate federal rules. Log books and other paperwork can be easily falsified and in some cases drivers with overloaded trucks are able to avoid the weigh stations meant to catch them.
It is possible that in the future technology will help create a safer industry. Automatic systems in the truck can keep track of how long the truck is driven and how long truckers rest – without the need of a log book. Driverless trucks could allow motor carriers to save money while also reducing the risk of accidents caused by driver error.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident anywhere in South Florida and would like to find out whether you have a case, contact Flaxman Law Group today for a free, no obligation case review.