Speeding Truckers are a Major Cause of Trucking Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 95,000 Americans are injured in large commercial truck accidents every year. Not only are large trucking accidents occurring too frequently, but they are disproportionately dangerous as well. The NHTSA found that large commercial trucks are involved in only 3% of all Connecticut accidents; yet they are involved in nearly 13% of all fatal accidents in the state.
Knowing the tremendous risks that are involved in a trucking operation, these large vehicles must always be operated with the highest level of safety in mind. Unfortunately, far too often truckers fail to live up to that obligation. Speeding truck drivers remain a serious problem, causing many trucking accidents in the Hartford area as well as throughout Connecticut.
Excessive Speed Dramatically Increases Risks
According to the most recent Motor Vehicle Crash causation Survey, the number one reason why trucks are involved in accidents is that they are “traveling too fast for the road conditions.” Nearly one in five fatal truck accidents involves a speeding trucker. To put that figure into perspective, that means that speeding trucks take almost 800 lives a year; not including the thousands more victims who suffer debilitating injuries. Beyond making an accident more likely to occur, high speeds greatly compound the dangers associated with a crash. As Road Safe America explained in their quarterly newsletter, a large truck traveling 70 miles per hour packs the same amount of force as an ordinary motor vehicle traveling at nearly 400 miles per hour.
The Trucking Company is Liable for Its Drivers
While truckers have a legal obligation to ensure that they are traveling at a safe speed, their employers bear responsibility for their actions as well. First, a trucking company must only hire drivers that are well-trained and capable of operating their vehicle in a safe manner. Trucking companies must also continuously work to ensure that they have a qualified fleet of drivers. For example, if a trucker is issued a speeding ticket, it is incumbent that their employer takes the appropriate disciplinary actions to instill the hazards and consequences of speeding in their drivers.
Additionally, one of the primary reasons that truckers typically speed is that they are trying to meet tight delivery deadlines. Far too often trucking companies schedule very tight deliveries without accounting for factors such as traffic, weather, or equipment malfunctions. By doing this the companies are essentially encouraging their drivers to speed. The concept of quickness first, and safety second, is not acceptable on today’s roads. Trucking companies must give their drivers a large enough window to meet all deadlines without being forced to travel at unsafe speeds for any part of their trip.
New Safety Regulations May Be Coming
In the fall of 2016, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it is seeking public and industry input on potential new speed limits for large commercial vehicles.
According to the proposal, the DOT is considering requiring companies to install ‘speed limiting devices’ in large trucks, which would restrict the maximum speed of the vehicle. Both 68 miles per hour and 60 miles per hour have been suggested as possible top speeds. The DOT has estimated that a 60 mile per hour speed limit would save up to 500 lives each year.
Unfortunately, trucking accidents can be extremely devastating. With that being said, it is important to keep in mind all of the complexities associated with the trucking industry. Finding a skilled attorney who practices in the field of trucking accidents can make all of the difference. The right attorney can investigate and analyze all of the details previously discussed, and more involving the employer’s duties, equipment, logs and other tools of the industry that would reveal fault and possibly a propensity toward reckless behavior. By doing so they can properly advocate on your behalf, making it possible for you or your loved one to recover the full compensation you deserve.