As fatal commercial truck crashes continue to rise, safety is not a high priority within the commercial trucking industry.
According to the federal government’s most recent statistics (“Traffic Safety Facts 2020”), nearly 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2020. More than 70% of those who died were passengers in vehicles other than the truck.
Rise in Fatal Commercial Truck Crashes
The number of people who died in commercial truck accidents in 2020 compared to 2011 rose 31%. In Missouri in 2020, commercial trucks were involved in almost 10% of the state’s fatal crashes.
A new survey of the commercial trucking industry once again reveals that public safety does not rank all that highly among its top worries.
American Trucking Associations (ATA) is the largest U.S. commercial trucking lobbying organization. One of its affiliate organizations is the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which conducts research on topics of interest to the commercial trucking industry.
ATRI annually surveys commercial trucking leaders and organizations to identify their top business concerns. ATRI recently published this year’s edition (“Critical Issues of the Trucking Industry – 2022”).
ATRI surveyed its list of 25,000-plus contacts as well as those of state trucking associations. Truck drivers and truck company officials were included. ATRI asked respondents to list their top three business concerns.
Truck Industry’s Concerns over Public Safety Issues
In October, ATRI released the trucking industry’s top 10 business concerns for this year. Public safety was not among them. Steps to prevent fatal truck crashes were, but only in expressed opposition to them.
The number one response was the cost of fuel. The second was driver shortage, as the industry is facing a projected shortage of drivers in the coming years. Last year, in a move supported by trucking concerns, the government enacted a pilot program allowing those as young as 18 years old to drive tractor-trailers across state lines.
A safety-related trucking industry concern first appears is at number eight. It involves the government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program that, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “…holds motor carriers and their drivers accountable for their role in safety.”
Next on the list is the use of speed limiters on commercial trucks. Speeding truckers can cause catastrophic truck crashes. In October, FMCSA announced it will introduce in 2023 a proposed rule mandating speed limiters on large commercial trucks. This proposed new rule finished fifth among surveyed truck drivers’ concerns – higher than the overall list.
Truck crash lawsuits rounded out the top 10 trucking industry concerns.
When commercial truck drivers speed or trucking companies allow poorly maintained trucks on the road, their careless actions put other drivers and passengers in danger. This most recent list of trucking industry concerns reinforces a belief that trucking companies prioritize profits over public safety.
If you were seriously injured or had a family member die in a crash with a commercial truck, turn to a personal injury lawyer experienced in dealing with trucking companies and their insurance companies to pursue just compensation on your behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham. Posted in Blog November 16, 2022.