Truck driver is one of the nation’s most deadly occupations. Many of the same factors that place truckers in peril unfortunately also contribute to fatal trucking accidents that kill numerous other people.
In December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual census of the country’s fatal occupational injuries. This latest census covered fatal work injuries for 2015. It reported that transportation and material moving jobs were responsible for a fourth of all work-related deaths and among this collection of workers, tractor-trailer drivers experienced the most work fatalities.
Over the last five years, the number of truck driver deaths has increased 11 percent.
More Truckers Mean More Fatal Crashes
The dramatic rise in online shopping in recent years has placed more truckers on the roads to deliver goods. And more truckers raise the chances for more catastrophic trucking accidents. In Missouri, for example, the number of fatal truck crashes increased 33 percent between 2013 and 2105, and the number of people killed rose 22 percent.
But companies that put profit before safety are another big explanation for the increase in fatal truck driving accidents, which kill truckers, other motorists, or both.
Trucking Companies Fight or Ignore Safety Measures
Fatigued truck drivers can cause serious trucking accidents. That’s why the federal government instituted new guidelines that limit the hours truckers can be on the road. Called Hours of Service Rules, the trucking industry fought them largely for economic reasons. A final resolution is pending.
Another new federal mandate requires truck drivers to record their hours in electronic devices rather than the old-fashioned, easy-to-manipulate paper log books. Trucking concerns filed a lawsuit to halt the electronic logging device mandate. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful in court.
In 2016, a couple of surprise nationwide roadside truck inspections revealed many of the big rigs today have unsafe brakes. Making sure company-owned trucks are properly maintained should be a priority for employers. But the inspection results showed this not to be the case.
Whenever or however companies act negligently, they put their truck driver employees at risk – as well as the driving public at large.
If you were seriously injured or had a family member die in an accident involving a commercial truck, you have the right to find out who is responsible and hold them accountable. An experienced trucking accident attorney can act on your behalf to do just that.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. in Trucking Accidents on January 10, 2017