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Trucking accidents are becoming more dangerous

Posted on May 4th, 2016

An accident with a large transport truck is always extremely dangerous and often results in serious injury or death. Merely being on the road in between two trucks is enough to convince some to stay off the highways. A recent article in the Huffington Post illustrates the growing problem with truck accidents. Titled, “Trucks are Getting More Dangerous and Drivers Are Falling Asleep at the Wheel. Thank Congress: The inside story of how the trucking industry and politicians conspire to make our highways less safe.” The authors demonstrate how Congress has conspired with large shipping companies such as Walmart and Federal Express to lower the safety standards and increase profits at the public’s expense.

The article discusses many fatal trucking accidents where truck drivers were criminally negligent—from the accident that nearly killed actor Tracy Morgan, to one in July 2015 that killed a mother and two small children. And the horror is increasing. Drivers are pushed too hard, driving too long of hours, using stimulants, and exceeding the safety limitations. One cause of these accidents were less checks on drivers and companies to make sure that they followed the rules. There is a trend in the United States Congress that has deregulated the trucking industry, making it easier for drivers to drive for days on time without sufficient breaks.

During the economic downturn of 2009, truck-related deaths hit an all‑time high of 2,983 accidents, killing some 3,380 people. This was an increase of 17.3 percent from previous studies. The trucking companies have lobbied Congress for many changes including less rest periods and increased weight limit of trucks. Congress is now asking that truckers to be able to work 82‑hour weeks instead of the already exhausting limit of 70 hours a week. Where truckers were monitored for warning signs such as being overweight or having sleep apnea, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been floating proposals to monitor drivers less for these obvious red flags and safety concerns.

The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, which investigates these accidents, concluded that over tired drivers account for a large percentage of fatalities. The real causes of these accidents often go unreported, because there is no roadside test for driving while drowsy. In addition, fraud in reporting and bookkeeping is rampant.

If you are the victim of a trucking accident or are accused of violating trucking standards, call the lawyers at ThePhillyLawyers.