Truck Accident Lawyer
It is no surprise that in the past few years, the number of trucking accidents have skyrocketed to new highs. Due to driving long hours to get consumers their much-needed goods, truckers on the road have been working even longer hours than usual since the start of the pandemic, causing even more dangers on the road. Shipments of livestock, medical supplies, fuel, groceries, and vaccines caused the industry to double their workload and with the lack of drivers, companies resorted to having their drivers work more hours to cover the extensive need for these goods across the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for truckers has increased by 577%, causing their workload to skyrocket. With the burden of the workload, truck drivers have felt extreme fatigue associated with long hours spent driving, resulting in distracted driving and speeding.
Between 2020 to 2021, the number of truck related accidents increased by 13%, with some of the biggest fatal collisions on urban interstates, arterial roads, and toll roads, amassing to a 20% increase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that while the overall rate of fatalities has increased, the number has especially increased from 15% for out-of-state travel, and 4% in-state travel. As explained by an experienced truck accident lawyer – these collisions can cause catastrophic injuries, which could include, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bone fractures and breaks, traumatic amputations, paralysis, cuts, lacerations and burns, spinal cord injuries, and death.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed several new federal regulations which they hope to enact quickly to reduce the risk of accidents and keep drivers and pedestrians on the road safe. Some of the proposed precautions include:
- Speed Limiters: FMCSA has proposed new trucking speed limiters which, if proven effective, should help to reduce truck-related accidents on the roads by restricting speeds for trucks to under 65 mph, regardless of posted speed limits on the roads and highways. While slower travel rates may lead to a decline in rate of delivery, slower travel speeds will lead to improved reaction time, causing the number of accidents on the road to decrease.
- Electronic Truck Monitoring: FMCSA proposed to monitor trucks electronically by having logs of the trucker’s speed, weight, and position, which will help to not only enforce regulations more efficiently but will also allow real-time calculations to be taken to reduce potential collision rates.
- Automatic Emergency Braking: While many cars already have automatic braking systems in place, FMCSA is now proposing that this equipment be placed within trucks so that emergency braking systems are automatic for heavier trucks.
- Hours of Service (and Exemptions): New regulations have been proposed to reduce the amount of time that drivers are on the road, including updated waivers for cross-country deliveries.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements and Tracking Truck Driver Alcohol Testing: New policies have been implemented to keep the roads safe, including increased drug and alcohol testing periodically, which if failed, will prohibit drivers from operating the vehicle. The new tracking policy will also require trucking companies to use an electronic drug and alcohol clearinghouse system which will automatically track driver’s results and record them electronically, giving companies access to records of those who have passed and failed tests. Online and in person modules will also be provided, covering topics such as safe handling of equipment, the use of drugs and alcohol, and other preventative measures drivers can take to reduce collisions on the road.
Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight on the new proposed trucking laws for 2023 designed to keep you and your family safe.