Congress Are NOT Protecting People from Fatal Truck Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the death toll in truck accidents rose 17 percent from 2009 to 2013. During 2013 alone, there were 3,964 people killed in fatal truck accidents, including 586 truck occupants.
The numbers are indisputable: trucks are killing more and more of us each year – passenger vehicle and truck occupants alike. And if this trend persists, truck accidents will kill more people this year than airplane crashes over the past half century.
Yet, Congress continues to coddle the trucking industry by pushing for legislation that would work against the efforts by regulators to enforce more stringent safety standards within the industry. In recent months, it has called for a major increase in work hours (from 70 hours over eight days to 82 hours a week); dissuaded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from investing in better monitoring technologies; and shown its support for even larger trucks despite public outcry. Congress also wants to drop the legal age for interstate truck drivers from 21 to 18.
Inexplicably, all of these concessions have been advanced in spite of the industry’s efforts at resisting safety improvements. While features like airbags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes have contributed to a more than three percent drop in car crash fatalities, the trucking industry is refusing to implement most of these safety devices, for the sake of preserving their bottom line. They’re even resisting widely available technology that helps soften the impact of collisions – only about three percent of Class 8 trucks operating within the United States are equipped with crash cushions.
The industry says that safety-rule changes would increase costs and hurt profits, which in turn would lead to increased rates for shippers and, ultimately, consumers.
This reasoning is suspect.
First of all, the trucking industry is enjoying enormous profits at the moment, generating more than $700 billion a year in revenue. It is unlikely that a slightly larger safety budget would significantly affect carriers’ finances.
Furthermore, higher safety standards and shorter work weeks may increase freight costs, but they should contribute to better savings in the long run through decreased insurance rates and less lawsuits.
Congress needs to stop bowing to the trucking industry, and pass a comprehensive highway funding bill that gives regulators enough power and resources to do whatever it takes to reduce trucking accidents.
Have you been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident? If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced California truck accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for assistance. We can help you get full and fair compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call us today at (800) 522-7274 to learn more about what our firm can do for you.