An agency funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other transportation entities published a list of actions this year that commercial trucking companies should take to promote safety. A review of stances taken by the trucking industry shows they actually oppose such measures designed to save lives.
The National Surface Transportation Safety Center of Excellence was established by federal law in 2005. Its goal is to make road transportation safer throughout the United States by focusing research on drivers and infrastructure.
Increase in Commercial Truck Crash Deaths
There were more than 4,700 deaths in commercial trucking accidents in 2017 – the most recent year for final data – and this number represents a 9% jump over the year prior. In this context, the NSTSCE in April published its list of steps for trucking companies to help stem the rise of deadly truck accidents.
The list focuses on the big picture: what trucking companies can and should do to make safety a priority throughout their operations. When commercial truckers cause catastrophic wrecks, many times there are prior actions taken or overlooked by their employers that were contributing factors.
The steps were the result of an NSTSCE study (“Effective Strategies to Improve Safety”) that examined what nine commercial motor vehicle companies did that successfully improved their safety track records. Researchers identified six common actions taken by the trucking companies and recommended all other companies follow their lead.
Truck Companies’ Responsibility in Promoting Safety
· Trucking companies should hire safe drivers. More specifically, they should do in-depth research into applicants’ crash histories and other pertinent records.
· Trucking companies should provide safety training for new drivers. Trucking companies should review with new drivers the importance of truck maintenance, federal Hours of Service rules and other safety issues.
· After initial safety training, trucking companies should conduct ongoing safety training for their drivers. These safety reviews should emphasize safe driving practices, such as limiting fatigue and avoid driving with serious health issues.
· Trucking companies should employ the latest safe driving technology, such as lane departure warning systems and speed limiters.
The overall goal is to have trucking companies build a culture of safety throughout the organization, so that top officers as well as truck drivers are strongly committed to it. And the authors stress that it is the responsibility of trucking company management to spearhead the safety movement.
But it appears that the trucking industry does not share this view.
Ever since the Hours of Service rules were recommended and then implemented, trucking lobbyists have fought them. These rules keep dangerously tired commercial truckers off the road. Yet, bowing to pressure, the federal government has rolled back some of these rules and is considering altering other provisions.
Federal lawmakers recently introduced a bill making speed limiters on all new big rigs mandatory. It immediately faced opposition from trucking groups.
When the federal government proposed revised training regulations for new drivers that included 30 hours actually driving on the road as a requirement prior to certification, truck lobbying groups threw up roadblocks. That 30-hour driving provision ultimately was scrapped.
Trucking companies have the responsibility to make sure their drivers and their trucks are safe. Even when given a blueprint to do this, they often shirk their responsibility and harm innocent people and their families.
If you lost a loved one or you were seriously injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer, speak with a truck accident lawyer, who can help identify all responsible parties to obtain justice for you.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles September 30, 2019