After reaching a record low in 2009, fatal truck accidents are rising again. In 2011, the most recent year that federal data is available, 3,757 people were killed in truck accidents. The number is an 11.2 percent increase over 2009. Another 80,000 people were seriously injured in truck accidents.
According to the American Association for Justice (AAJ), many of these truck accidents could be prevented. In a recent report on truck safety, the organization said that truck drivers are under increasing pressure to delay truck repairs, drive while fatigued and ignore other safety measures their rate of compensation per mile is too low to cover their living expenses. By the AAJ's measure, these pressures result in about 13,000 truck accidents each year.
While federal inspectors have been looking for safety issues - they found more than seven million violations in 2011 - the AAJ says inspections have not eliminated the safety problems. The organization has suggested that the minimum insurance requirement be raised for trucking companies.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires carriers only to have insurance up to $750,000 per incident. Many truck accidents result in damages that exceed that minimum. The AAJ says that ordinarily, operating unsafe trucks would result in higher insurance costs. It argues that the outdated standards artificially disrupt the insurance market, and that increasing the minimum insurance requirements could help insurance companies better assess and charge unsafe companies for insurance. Doing so would give trucking companies a financial incentive to improve safety.
Source: American Association for Justice, "Truck Safety Alert: The Rising Danger from Trucks, and How to Stop It," June 2013
- Our law firm represents people who have been injured or lost loved ones in truck accidents in the Los Angeles area. For more information, visit our truck accidents page.