While you may already know this, you might nevertheless postpone speaking with an attorney
Although virtually any type of motor vehicle accident has the potential to seriously harm those involved, statistically, accidents involving large trucks and commercial vehicles tend to be particularly harmful. It’s easy to understand why. The size and weight of the vehicles involved in an accident are two factors that naturally play a major role in its severity.
Unfortunately, data from a recent federal agency report also indicates large truck crashes may be on the rise throughout the United States.
There are many potential reasons this may be the case. For example, the rise in smartphone ownership may cause more truck drivers to be involved in accidents because they are distracted while operating their vehicles.
Regardless, it’s important that proper safety standards for the trucking industry are enforced. Standards and regulations pertaining to such safety factors as the number of hours a driver can work before taking time to rest have been consistently shown to reduce the frequency of truck accidents.
Sadly, lobbyists for the trucking industry have taken issue with these standards, and are continuing to fight against them. While trucking industry lobbyists have a history of such activities, they have been more aggressive than usual in recent years due to supply chain shortages and other issues that may impact the industry negatively.
For example, a common concern among trucking industry lobbyists is a lack of access to drivers who meet all the requirements to obtain a CDL license. Thus, some lobbyists have actively sought to lower the minimum CDL license age requirements in their states.
There’s also evidence suggesting their efforts might be successful in some instances. For example, CDL drivers currently must be at least 21 years of age to cross state lines when operating large commercial vehicles. However, the recent infrastructure bill will make it possible for drivers as young as 18 to cross state lines in various circumstances.
This does not bode well for motorists who have to share the road with large commercial vehicles. Relaxing safety standards could result in large truck accidents continuing to become more common.
It’s well-known that driver fatigue is a major cause of large truck accidents. Safely operating any vehicle, let alone a large truck, becomes more difficult when one is tired.
Along with lowering age requirements, lobbyists have been trying to adjust shift length requirements. Right now, federal requirements allow drivers to work for a maximum of 11 hours per day in a typical 70 hour work week, although they can extend their work shifts to 14 hours in length if their destinations are all located within just a few hours of their starting points. During the first eight hours of a shift, a driver must also be permitted to take a rest break for at least 30 minutes.
It’s well-known that driver fatigue is a major cause of large truck accidents. Safely operating any vehicle, let alone a large truck, becomes more difficult when one is tired. If lobbyists are successful in their attempts to change the current shift length requirement laws, it’s highly likely an increase in the rate of accidents involving large trucks will be an unfortunate result.
Luckily, there are some indications these problems might be addressed. For example, a range of new technologies have made it easier for drivers to know when they need to rest. Some are basic technologies, such as onboard navigation systems that also track how long drivers have been at the wheel, alerting them (and, sometimes, their employers) when they have been driving for too long. Others are more high-tech, such as biometric technologies that monitor drivers’ physical condition for signs of fatigue.
Still, it’s important that lawmakers opposed to relaxing trucking industry safety standards remain active in their attempts to ensure effective standards remain in place. Saving lives is more important than giving into the trucking industry’s requests.
Of course, accidents will always happen sometimes, particularly when drivers or trucking companies engage in negligence. Hopefully, you will never be harmed in a trucking accident yourself, but if you are, the Boston truck accident attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. are prepared to help you fight for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses your accident may have caused. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at (617) 742-1900 to schedule a free consultation.
If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.