The unsustainable cost of truck accidents: Part I

The unsustainable cost of truck accidents: Part I

Common phrases such as "everyone makes mistakes" and "accidents happen" are useful in certain contexts. They remind us not to have unrealistic standards and not to beat up on ourselves for being human and fallible. But this same attitude is unhelpful and even dangerous in other contexts. Truck accidents are a good example of the latter.

Earlier this summer, Americans were shocked to learn about the fatigued driving crash that nearly killed comedian Tracy Morgan. The truck driver who struck his limo (injuring three passengers and killing a fourth) had allegedly not slept in about 24 hours. But most of us would be even more shocked to learn that fatal truck accidents like this occur nearly a dozen times each and every day on U.S. roads and highways.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that truck accidents are responsible for about 4,000 fatalities and more than 100,000 injuries annually. That breaks down to more than 10 fatalities and 284 injuries per day.

Why is this not a major news story all the time? It is probably because these accidents are so common and tend to be spread out around the country. They are usually not deemed “newsworthy” in the way that a commercial airplane crash would be. By way of comparison, however, a commuter jet would have to crash every single week (resulting in a 100-percent fatality rate) in order to match the death toll of truck accidents.

Truck accidents should not be dismissed as simply the cost of doing business. Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion. We’ll explore why truck accidents are so common and deadly.

Source: NBC News, " Truck Accidents Surge, But There's No National Outcry," Eamon Javers and Jennifer Schlesinger, July 30, 2014


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