If you drive often through Tennessee, you may have taken comfort in a recent report stating that fatal motor vehicle accidents have declined over the past few years. The reasons for this decline may include tougher penalties for impaired driving, better driver education on the dangers of distracted driving and higher quality safety features in new vehicles.
Unfortunately, the good news stops there. While the rates of car accidents may be declining, those fatal accidents involving large trucks, semi-trailers and 18-wheelers continue to rise. In fact, the most recent data shows nearly 400 more fatalities in 2017 than in the previous years. What is the reason for this increase, and what can the trucking industry do to ensure the safety of you and your family on the road?
Why so many accidents?
Sharing the highway with tractor-trailers can be stressful and intimidating. In your smaller vehicle, you may not be certain the driver of the big rig even knows you are there. When you look in your rearview mirror and see a truck coming at you like a force of nature, you may fear for your life. You are not alone. Safety advocates continue to fight for higher standards in the trucking industry, but year after year, the common causes of accidents seem to include the following:
- Fatigued drivers, many of whom disapprove of the federal mandate for rest breaks during their shifts
- Overworked drivers under pressure to handle the increasing demand for shipped goods in light of the truck driver shortage
- Impaired drivers, using either drugs or alcohol while driving
- Speeding drivers, who then are unable to stop their rigs in time to avoid a collision
- Poorly trained or inexperienced drivers who do not know how to handle stressful traffic situations
- Drivers of smaller vehicles who maneuver recklessly around big trucks causing accidents
New technology promises to provide a safer experience for truckers and those who share the road with them. Newer trucks include blind spot cameras, collision avoidance technology, lane sensors and automatic braking systems, among other features. Unfortunately, many trucking companies cannot afford to replace their existing trucks or equip their older models with high-tech features. This means you must depend on the caution and skill of the person behind the wheel.
If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one in an accident with a truck, your life may never be the same. You may be looking for an avenue through which to seek justice. A skilled personal injury attorney may provide guidance and support along the way.