Will These Actions Reduce Fatal Truck Crashes?

A trucking organization has come out with a list of priorities it wants acted upon by the federal government to make the nation’s roads safer. And the actions all would be taken against trucking companies.

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security was formed in 2010 and includes major interests involved in U.S. transportation. Citing national figures of 3,600 deaths from trucking accidents in 2013, the group’s chairman recently announced a number of steps that he says, if Congress and the White House adopt, would help reduce catastrophic accidents.

These actions include:

The use of electronic logging devices (ELD) for all trucks. ELDs keep track of the hours truck drivers spend on the road. This is important to ensure drivers get adequate rest and don’t drive more than is legally acceptable. Congress mandated back in 2012 that they be employed by the trucking industry to keep dangerous tired truckers off the road. Formal rules for the use of ELDs have yet to be finalized. This trucking group wants ELDs put in use as quickly as possible.

Allow trucking companies to use hair testing for drugs. Current federal regulations call for urine testing when screening new truck drivers for employment. This particular trucking industry organization says that it is not as reliable as hair testing to determine drug use by truck drivers. It asks for those trucking companies that want to employ the more stringent testing be allowed to do so.

Raise the minimum liability insurance level for trucking companies. The minimum amount of liability insurance trucking companies must carry is $750,000. This minimum has remained unchanged for 30 years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced it wants a higher limit, saying that if it kept pace with inflation, today’s liability insurance minimum would be $1.6 million. And in 2008, this same organization reported the average cost of a fatal trucking accident was $7.6 million.

Mandatory use of speed limiters on trucks. While some trucking companies put speed limiting devices on their trucks, it is not a requirement. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently cited speeding as the top driver-related error in fatal truck crashes.

While this one trucking group’s focus on safety is admirable, it isn’t the norm for the trucking industry as a whole. Negligent actions by trucking companies and truck drivers continue to kill thousands each year and more regulation may not change this equation.

If you lost a loved one in catastrophic truck crash, an attorney who handles fatal trucking accident cases can pursue just compensation for your loss from those responsible.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.