Since the start of COVID-19, the American Trucking Association has called attention toward the truck driver shortage in the United States. Its latest report in 2021 estimated that at least 80,000 drivers are needed in the trucking industry, which could reach up to 160,000 drivers needed by 2030, reports Forbes. Still, with less truck drivers on the road, does this mean there will be less accidents, too?
Not likely. With the pressure current drivers face to meet labor and supply short demands, fewer trucks could mean more truck accidents in 2022 and future years. This article explains the factors behind what leads to truck accidents and how you may be able to hold trucking companies accountable if you were injured in an accident.
Truck Accident Deaths Increased in 2020 by 28 Percent Since 2009
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported 4,014 fatalities caused by truck accidents in 2020, which is a 28 percent increase in truck collision deaths from 2009. Regarding injuries caused by truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported a 62 percent increase in truck collision injuries from 2009 (60,000) to 2015 (97,000) and a 13 percent increase from 2016 (112,000) to 2019 (127,000).
Because crash rates have increased despite driver shortages, this indicates that the causal factors behind truck accidents do not stem from the number of trucks sharing the roads with other vehicles and road users. Instead, driver error, poor truck maintenance, and environmental factors remain critical reasons for most automobile accidents involving trucks, as suggested by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report.
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Truck Drivers Face Immense Pressure That Leaves Them Vulnerable to Accidents
Before the labor shortage, truck drivers faced several challenges to fulfill interstate commerce demands. While the FMCSA sets federal regulations on how many hours of service truck drivers can perform, these regulations still don’t factor in how drivers jeopardize their safety on the road.
Some common reasons why truck accidents occur stem from driver errors, such as:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers have an 11-hour maximum driving limit after being off duty for at least 10 hours, and a 60-70-hour limit per week (or per seven to eight days). Drivers who violate these regulations may risk driving while sleep deprived, which can reduce their driving abilities much like how alcohol inhibits a person’s judgment and motor skills.
- Driver distraction: In an effort to save time, some truck drivers opt to multitask while driving, which can distract them from hazards or sudden changes on the road. Common distractions include eating or drinking, looking at GPS or road maps, changing the radio, having conversations with passengers or phone callers, and reading road signs.
- Alcohol or drug influence: Some truck drivers use substances to help boost their energy for long-haul shifts or help them fall asleep faster within their off-duty hours. Whether a truck driver uses depressants or stimulants (or switches between them), drug and alcohol use can decrease their ability to drive safely on the road. Trucking companies must routinely test drivers to avoid substance abuse during travel.
- Poor truck maintenance: Truck drivers must ensure their vehicles are safe for operation before transporting goods, especially goods involving hazardous materials (e.g., gasoline, liquid chemicals, and flammable materials). However, it can be common for drivers to perform back-to-back driving shifts before having their vehicles inspected by maintenance workers, which puts them at risk for accidents. Common maintenance errors include driving with faulty brakes, worn out tires, and dirty oil in the engine.
A Truck Accident Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help You Build Your Case
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a truck driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. Damages may include costs for medical treatment, property damage, income loss, pain and suffering, and other forms of economic and non-economic losses. If you, unfortunately, lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may qualify to receive compensation for funeral expenses and other damages caused by their wrongful death.
At Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers, we help clients build comprehensive cases and stand up to liable parties to hold them accountable for their negligence. Should you decide to work with one of our attorneys, we offer to:
- Review and investigate your truck accident
- Retrieve evidence for your case
- Handle messages and other communications with insurance companies and the defendant
- Prepare legal paperwork on your behalf and within legal deadlines
- Prepare your case for trial if necessary while negotiating an out-of-court settlement
- Calculate the value of your total damages
Our law firm has won $2 billion in settlements for our clients, and we aim to reach a fair settlement or verdict for your case.
Your Time May Be Limited to File Your Case—Call Now for a Free Consultation
If you suffered injuries due to a truck accident and would like to pursue compensation, keep in mind that each state has a separate statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to file your case. Depending on which state you reside in, you may have limited time to build your case before the filing period ends.
Do not risk missing your case deadline. Call Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers to receive a free case evaluation. Our truck accident lawyers practice in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Our attorneys are also licensed in Nevada, Texas, and Illinois. Call today to speak with a member of our team.