A recent report by the American Association for Justice has spotlighted the increasing rate of truck accidents, which has begun creeping up again in the past several years. The 2011 rates represent a 11.2 percent increase over the record low of 2009.
We talk about the dangers of trucking on our national highways on a regular basis on this blog, yet most people are not aware of some of the following key facts:
Fatalities (per miles driven) are seventeen percent higher for trucks than for passenger vehicles, with 3,757 people killed, and more than 80,000 seriously injured, in trucking accidents in the United States, according to 2011 statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
3,341 of the large truck crashes in 2011 involved at least one fatality.
More than 28,000 trucking companies with safety violations operate on U.S. highways.
The rate of fatalities in trucking accidents is nearly three times the rate of death in aviation, boating and railroads combined.
When a passenger vehicle is involved in a crash with a large truck, ninety seven percent of the fatalities are occupants of the passenger vehicle.
The almost 11 million trucks that travel our roads each year represent only 4.7 percent of all passenger vehicles, but are involved in 12.4 percent of all fatal crashes.
Trucking is the predominant means of freight transportation in the United States with a 67 percent market share. The AAJ report calls for a change in the current economic model of the trucking industry, which is fundamentally unsound. Outdated minimum insurance levels have kept premiums low for even the most dangerous companies. Truck drivers, which are compensate by miles driven, not hours worked, tend to delay repairs, ignore safety measures and drive in a fatigued state according to the report.
The report concludes that fundamental market based change is necessary if we ever hope to avoid the thousands of tragic deaths that occur on our roads each year. The full report, and industry suggestions, can be found here.