The latest report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals that truck accidents are on the rise. In fact, fatal accidents involving large trucks increased by 40% between 2009 and 2017 and 80% of the fatalities are the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Bad driving habits aside, there are many factors that point to an increase in truck accidents and deaths, including rapid urban development and mobility and poor regulations of the growing industry.
Auger & Auger truck accident attorneys understand how devastating truck accidents can be. Read on to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family when you are traveling busy highways.
Urban Development: More Trucks, More Truck Accidents
Cities around our nation are growing rapidly, and with this urban development comes busier highways packed with vehicles of all types. South Carolina roads, in particular, facilitate the transportation of large amounts of freight daily, due to ports and highways that are easily accessible to large trucks.
Congestion on the highway is always annoying to travelers, but it has the potential for deadly outcomes when passenger vehicles come into close contact with trucks carrying large loads on a regular basis.
City planners face many issues when it comes to managing the large volumes of freight that must use city highways. Some of the most significant modern challenges include:
- Freight Volumes and Traveling Speeds – The number of large trucks on the road is increasing due to rapid urban development and globalization. These trucks take up a significant amount of highway space and move much slower than passenger vehicles.
- Nature of Freight Distribution – Cities especially require smaller, more frequent and time-sensitive deliveries. Digital commerce (home deliveries) has only increased this challenge.
- Reverse-flow logistics – With more individuals packed into cities, the need for waste removal and recycling services increase, leading to more large capacity vehicles entering and leaving highways.
Though the number of fatalities on the roadways is decreasing overall, the exception is primarily from trucking accidents. These deadly encounters are on the rise due to the increase in numbers of transport deliveries and the expansion of their time-sensitive requirements.
Monopolizing the Freeways – Truck Lane Restrictions
As the volume of trucks on the nation’s highways increase, industry experts, politicians, and drivers are looking for solutions to the problems created by this economic growth. Lane restrictions for trucks offer the potential of higher efficiency and better public safety.
Truck lane restrictions are designed to improve highway operations and reduce accidents. Lane restrictions require trucks to use one or more designated lanes of travel, typically the farthest right lanes. This allows for smaller passenger vehicles to use the far-left or leftmost lanes for regular travel and passing. In Texas, restrictions against left-lane travel by trucks have led to a 68% reduction in truck accidents on Interstate 10.
Using Technology to Save Lives
Aside from managing traffic flow with truck lane restrictions, industry experts are brainstorming ways to use technology to improve highway safety and reduce truck accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new federal motor vehicle standards that would require any vehicle over a certain weight to be equipped with a speed limiting device. Reducing the speed of large, heavy trucks to no more than 60 or 65 mph has the potential to reduce the severity of accidents and the number of fatalities overall.
Similarly, the NHTSA has proposed outfitting all trucks with potential front-end impact technology and automatic emergency brakes. Rear-end crashes account for around 30% of all large truck accidents. Many new passenger vehicles are already equipped with this technology. Implementing these devices to large trucks has the potential to reduce the number of crashes overall and save many lives.
Take Charge: Protect Yourself
Most travelers use highways regularly and must use a combination of caution and defensive driving around large trucks. Please use these tips to help protect yourself and others while traveling on congested highways:
- Be sure to always pass large trucks on the left side. Truck drivers have a blind spot, called the “no zone,” on their right side. You should never pass on this side.
- Leave plenty of space between your car and the large vehicle, especially when driving conditions are hazardous, such as in the snow or rain.
- Avoid braking hard in front of large trucks. Due to their weight, it takes much longer to come to a full stop. The majority of truck accidents are rear-ending collisions.
- Stay alert and never use distracting devices, such as your phone, when operating a vehicle.
Auger & Auger Means Business
Despite all precautions, truck accidents can and will happen. If you are the victim of a semi-truck accident, please contact one of our truck accident attorneys at Auger & Auger. You may reach us 24/7 at 800-559-5741 for a free consultation; to discuss your incident, make sure your medical needs are being attended to, and begin investigating the evidence required to prove your case.
Auger & Auger of South Carolina understand large truck accidents and the devastating impacts they can have on drivers and their families. In this spirit, we encourage you to share this information with those you love in order to keep our highways safe.