Some Truckers Risk Safety to Meet DeadlinesDecember 18, 2018
In 2017, fatal truck accidents rose to their highest level in nearly three decades. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,761 fatal large truck accidents nationwide that year, up nine percent from 2016.
While trucking industry experts do not always agree on the reason for the rise in truck-related deaths, most concede that more needs to be done to prevent them.
Hours-of-service (HOS) Regulations and Trucking Safety
Some drivers attribute the increase in serious and fatal tractor trailer crashes to federal regulations restricting how long truckers can drive within a certain time period. Truckers rushing to reach their destination within federal HOS guidelines may increase their speed or take other shortcuts that endanger themselves and others.
Federal guidelines limit truckers from working more than 11 hours within a 14-hour period, with mandatory 30-minute breaks at the eight-hour mark. Some drivers say these required rest breaks actually make them more tired. Further, they say they would prefer to work the eleven-hour shift straight through.
Unsafe Truck Driving Habits and Crashes
While speeding remains the number one cause of fatal crashes involving trucks, there are plenty of other dangerous driving behaviors that cause serious and fatal tractor trailer accidents. Distracted driving and drowsy driving are among the most common.
Part of the problem may be the lack of available, safe parking areas for drivers to rest, eat, and use their mobile phones. Even when rest areas are accessible, truck drivers may not always feel safe if they are poorly lit, in disrepair, or lack the basic services truckers on the road need.
Preventing Truck Accidents with Technology
Technology is one tool for encouraging safe driving behaviors and reducing the number of fatal accidents. For example, driver-assist systems designed to brake in an emergency and avoid a collision can be invaluable for saving thousands of lives every year.
Other driver-assist features, including lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and onboard cameras, have shown promise in preventing tractor trailer accidents. These tools help to keep drivers from sacrificing safety while they are under pressure to make strict delivery deadlines.
Some safety experts caution, however, that drivers may come to rely too much on this autonomous technology and pay less attention to the road. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for reducing truck accidents. But a plan that combines smart federal driver regulations, effective driver-assist technology, and superior training for every commercial truck driver in the country may lead us in the right direction.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Negligent Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are under immense pressure to pick up and deliver their loads quickly. Companies often offer incentives for workers who meet tight deadlines. Unfortunately, some drivers choose to sacrifice safe driving habits to save time. The Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are solely dedicated to handling truck accident claims. We advocate for you and your case, so you can focus on healing after a devastating crash. The road to recovery starts with a free case consultation. Call 800-547-4LAW or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.