On behalf of Cynthia Berger at Berger and Green
As the American economy continues to improve, motorists may find themselves sharing the road with more large trucks.
Sharing the road with large trucks is a stressful fact of life for many people who drive in Pennsylvania, and industry estimates predict these massive vehicles will soon be hitting the roads in even greater numbers. Unfortunately, more truck traffic could bring with it a heightened risk of semi accidents.
A growing need
Americans rely on tractor trailers to distribute goods across the state and throughout the nation. As the country’s economy continues to grow, the need for more trucks is apparent. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were already more than 10 million trucks traveling on the nation’s roadways in 2012, and that number has been on the rise.
The American Trucking Association estimates that the amount of freight needing to be distributed will continue to grow by 23.5 percent through 2025, according to the Commercial Carrier Journal. This dramatic increase brings with it a variety of issues, ranging from a shortage of qualified truck drivers to the inability to maintain a larger fleet of vehicles. These are matters of concern to motorists throughout the country, since truck driver negligence and equipment malfunction are two of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents in the United States.
Truck driver shortage
The ongoing shortage of qualified and well-trained truckers in the U.S. presents a safety concern for anyone who shares the road with large trucks. More drivers are needed to ensure that freight is delivered to its destination on time. However, at the same time that demand for qualified truck drivers is increasing, many truck drivers are leaving the industry in favor of jobs that allow them to stay home with their families.
In an attempt to make tight deadlines and make do with fewer drivers, some trucking companies schedule truckers in violation of federal hours of service laws. These laws, which impose mandatory rest breaks and limit how much time a truck driver can spend on the road at a time, were implemented to keep drowsy and distracted truck drivers off of the roads.
In addition, some truckers may be driving without a valid commercial driver’s license or continuing to drive after they have been cited with violations. As reported by NBC News, nearly 5 percent of drivers – approximately 171,150 truckers – were taken off of the road in 2012 after they were found to be driving with violations. More than 2.1 million tractor trailers were also removed from service that year because they were not properly inspected and/or maintained.
Surviving a tragic truck accident
A fully loaded semi truck is roughly 20 times bigger than the average passenger vehicle. This tremendous difference in size and weight means that people traveling in passenger vehicles are in great danger of devastating injuries when they are involved in collisions with large trucks. People injured in semi truck accidents may suffer severe, life-altering injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord damage, and brain trauma. An attorney who practices personal injury law may be able to help injured crash victims and their families recover financial compensation for the harm they have suffered.