Passenger-vehicle collisions with semis and other large commercial trucks has increasingly become a serious problem with deadly consequences.
Despite technological advances like forward-collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) designed to reduce collisions with passenger vehicles, the trucking industry has been particularly slow to modernize their trucks.
Other available life-saving technologies specific to the trucking industry include electronic logbooks, onboard data recorders, speed limiters, and side impact guards. Only this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began requiring electronic tracking of Hours-of-Service compliance. However, the other safety features mentioned above are not required.
Measuring Truck Safety on Texas Roads
As the economy recovers, the risk of a collision involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles increases, according to Consumer Reports.
Trucking accidents now kill more than 4,300 motorists a year. Roughly 80 percent of those injuries involve occupants of passenger vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians.
Other economic pressures also make the problem worse. Due to today’s internet economy, more delivery vehicles regularly travel in suburban neighborhoods. But the supply of experienced truck drivers cannot keep up with such demand. Nationwide, the trucking industry reports there’s a shortage of nearly 50,000 truck drivers.
More needs to be done to protect motorists
Some hope technological advances, including self-driving or auto-pilot-assisted technology and computerized electric vehicles, will help reduce the risks. But if the industry’s past track record of adopting safer technology is any indication, we will be dealing with the risk of human drivers for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, Texas motorists face particularly high risks.
Texas joins Florida and California as the nation’s most dangerous states for trucking collisions. CBS11 Dallas-Fort Worth recently reported a woman’s vehicle was crushed against a highway barrier and dragged for a quarter mile down I-30 in Mesquite.
While the driver was able to walk away, side underride guards could help prevent many such collisions. But unlike most industrialized countries, the U.S. does not require them. Side underride guards would also prevent bicyclists and pedestrians from being pulled beneath tractor-trailers after being pinched at intersections.
Liability for Fort Worth Trucking Collisions
A lax regulatory environment and a booming economy will continue to increase the risks of Texas trucking accidents. Accident victims must take care in choosing a law firm with significant experience in truck accident litigation. Out-of-state drivers, freight carriers, and insurance providers must be held accountable for compliance with state and federal regulations.
However, the trucking industry is particularly adept at sidestepping liability by using independent contractors, leasing companies, limited liability corporations, and experienced and dedicated defense counsel. Often, they will do everything they can to avoid paying injury victims.
Fortunately, you have options. Civil litigation can allow victims to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing care, while holding the trucking industry responsible for the safety of all road users. If you have been injured in a crash, contact Coby L. Wooten, Attorney At Law, P.C. and find out how we can help you.