“The Trucks are Killing Us” and Trucking Accidents

A recent New York Times article written by a former executive of the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry’s trade group, highlights continuing safety concerns regarding accidents involving large trucks.

More people will be killed in traffic collisions this year than have died in all of the domestic airline crashes over the last 45 years, if present trends continue.

Deaths from truck involved crashes rose 17 percent from 2009 to 2013. Fatalities in truck involved collisions have risen four years in a row, to 3,964 in 2013.

The recent Tracy Morgan Walmart truck crash emphasizes the dangers of unsafe driving and unsafe driving practices. The driver who caused the crash drove an 18 wheeler, and he had been on duty for about 13 and a half hours. He ignored work zone and speed warning signs.

Before his official work day, the Walmart driver spent 12 hours driving his own vehicle from Georgia to pick up his truck at a Walmart facility in Delaware, he had been awake for 28 consecutive hours at the time of the crash. Morgan was injured, along with eight others, Morgan’s friend was killed, a wrongful death case against Walmart was settled.

The trucking industry is trying to have Congress approve longer work weeks, to allow more working hours per week, to approve longer and heavier trucks, and to allow the age of drivers of large trucks to lowered to 18 from 21.