It is becoming all-too-common to hear of semi-truck accidents occurring in Virginia and across the nation. Despite tightening federal regulations on trucking regulations, one report indicates that over the past 10 years, the number of deadly large truck accidents in the United States is growing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that between 2009 and 2017, the number of deadly accidents involving large trucks rose 42%. In 2017, approximately 4,800 individuals lost their lives in such accidents.
These crashes come despite that throughout that time period, more sophisticated systems were being used to track the mechanical fitness of large trucks as well as safety violations that occurred throughout the country. It is suspected that driver error played a role in many trucks accidents.
Nevertheless, the safety record of the nation’s trucking industry has significantly improved compared to the 1980s. In 1979, there were over five deadly accidents per million miles traveled by large trucks. By 2017, that number dropped to 1.42. This may be due to the passage of legislation mandating and funding more roadside inspections and there have been improvements in technology making large trucks safer.
However, truck accidents are still a major problem on our roads. Roadside inspections are discovering violations, such as brake violations, meaning that drivers of large trucks must take care to ensure that their vehicles are checked before and after being driven. Moreover, some believe that the federal hours-of-service regulations permit semi-truck drivers to be behind the wheel for too long, resulting in drowsy driving and subsequently ups the chance that a collision involving a semi-truck will occur.
Drowsy driving, poor maintenance and human error can all play a role in truck accidents. When such incidents occur, those injured in the crash will want to identify all the responsible parties, including the truck driver and possibly the truck company. Once the proper defendants are identified, it may be possible in some circumstances to pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence in order to recover financial compensation for the damages suffered.