There are many rules designed to keep unsafe trucks off the roads. Despite that, about 25% of the 14,000 truck-related fatalities that have occurred between 2009 and 2014 in this country have involved a truck that had safety violations on their record.
Trucks are Becoming Safer
Trucks are in fact becoming safer, in part due to improved technology. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large trucks have a fatal accident rate of 1.42 crashes per 100 million miles driven. For these vehicles, the rate of fatal crashes declined by half in the 1994-2010 period. Safety experts say that improved training and improved truck safety has resulted in the lower rates.
Despite that, truck crashes in Hollywood and other communities continue to claim lives and cause catastrophic injury. According to safety experts, part of the problem is that states decide how to enforce the rules set out for trucking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
How Dangerous Trucks Fall Through the Cracks
Some states are stricter than others and some emphasize different safety rules. In some cases, this makes sense. A state with many hills may put a stronger emphasis on penalizing brake issues, for example, because those may most likely cause crashes in those states. However, the states with reputations for having strict enforcement have significantly more overall citations when compared with states that are considered more lax. This may mean that some states simply could be doing more to crack down on unsafe trucks.
Another issue is that there are a lot of trucks on the road, with many of those vehicles crossing state lines regularly. Enforcing safety rules can be difficult, especially if a carrier moves a truck from one state to another. A truck may be cited for a violation in Maine and then get moved to Florida. Florida authorities pulling the truck over may not know about recent violations in another state and there is currently no transparent system that lets authorities crack down on truck companies breaking the rules by using this system.
Truck Carriers and Truckers Can Also Contribute to the Problem
Truck carriers themselves can also be a problem. A few unscrupulous carriers simply change their names and even office locations once they accumulate a larger number of safety violations and then continue breaking the rules under a new name. It becomes difficult for authorities to catch these types of fly-by-night companies, so some are never caught or punished. Safety agencies, overwhelmed with complaints, may not follow up or may not crack down on these companies and others who break the rules.
There is also the issue of the truck driver. There are many rules for trucks and mechanical soundness, but some states are also focusing on the safety of truckers. Pennsylvania and other states, for example, have in recent years started checking medical certificates, logbooks, and driver fitness more closely to ensure that truckers as well as their trucks are road-worthy.
Have you been injured in a trucking collision? You will want to work with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate whether a truck, truck carrier, or driver involved in your crash had previous violations or was acting negligently. To speak with a legal professional and find out whether you have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group, a full service law firm in South Florida. We can arrange a free consultation for you so that you can discuss your situation with a member of our team.