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Recent Reports Indicate Fatal Big Rig Accidents Are On the Rise

As our readers know, truck accidents can be extremely dangerous to all involved. Even when these accidents are not fatal, they often result in victims suffering serious injuries that are sometimes permanent and disabling. These are the types of accidents we need to work together as a community to prevent, whether by contacting our legislature, reporting unsafe driving to trucking companies or authorities to hold employees/employers accountable, or encouraging friends and family members to drive safely and avoid negligence. With extra efforts, we can bring the numbers of these accidents down.

CBS News, recently reported that the number of fatal accidents involving big-rigs is on the rise. that the report links this increase to the fact that most tires on trucks are not meant to handle maximum constant speeds over 75 mph, yet many truckers travel at for long distances on expressways for their routes. Trucks across the nation consistently exceed that limit, and federal investigators believe this is leading to crashes. The article also reports data that between 2009 and 2013, large trucks and buses were responsible for 14,000 fatal accidents across the county. Of those fatalities, 223 were related to heavy truck tires, according to government data.

The same article notes that last month, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation revealed that multiple Michelin tire blowouts were to the result of a deadly combination of high speeds and lack of maintenance. The NHTSA stated that no truck tire is rated above 81 mph and most are rated at 75 mph. However, 16 of our states have truck speeds equal to or greater than 75 mph. Four states even have speeds at 80 mph. For these reasons, some argue that state laws are an explanation of failures to combat big-rig fatalities.

The American Trucking Association is on board with combating excess speeds by truck drivers. According to the CBS article, the executive vice president of the ATA explained how raising speed limits at the state level beyond 65 mph is a bad idea. Speaking on behalf of the trucking industry, he said that they have asked the federal government to regulate speed with electronic limiters that would cap a truck’s speed at 65 mph. As of right now, only 70% of companies limit their driver’s speed. While 70% may be a large number, this still means though that there are 30% of companies allowing their drivers to drive at an excess speed, making our roads more dangerous and increasing the probability of fatal big-rig accidents.

The article stated that the NHTSA is in the process of developing a rule to require speed limiters on all large trucks and to change labeling requirements on tires to include the maximum speed. We commend these efforts to make our roads safer and the initiative to stop truck driver negligence. Our attorneys stress that accidents involving large trucks can have devastating effects on those involved, especially when these accidents are the result of reckless or negligent driving at such high speeds on highways and interstates. When driving at high speeds, a driver can easily lose control and have less time to respond to an emergency situation and come to a stop. If we can decrease the speeds at which large trucks driver, we may be able to prevent future fatal accidents.