Trucking Industry Safety and Compliance
Road safety and avoiding car accidents is important for all drivers, however, sometimes accidents may involve commercial transportation vehicles like taxis, work vehicles, cargo vans, buses or trucks. Here in the Las Vegas valley, we share the road with a lot of these vehicles and the big rig and semi-trucks often pose risks. In fact, commercial trucking accidents have been increasing over the past several years with thousands injured or killed in truck crashes and collisions. Per the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), “commercial truck safety is a multifaceted issue involving the vehicles, the companies that operate them, the drivers, and the oversight agencies. Any successful effort to strengthen commercial trucking safety must be a collaborative effort.”
Commercial Trucking Risks
There are a multitude of reasons for trucking accidents to occur, anything from collisions with other motor vehicles to truck driver fatigue, speeding, DUI, truck maintenance issues and more. One of the partners at Eglet Prince, Robert Eglet, resides on the National Advisory Board of The Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA). The APITLA is a national association of lawyers who work together to eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices. The Association members’ mission is to work diligently to greatly reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths across America caused by unsafe trucking companies.
Commercial trucking can pose certain risks. For one, trucks take longer to stop than the average vehicle, therefore an issue with braking exists in most trucking accidents. Truckers sometimes follow too closely behind other vehicles and don’t have the ability to brake in time to stop their trucks completely. This is especially true in large cities, like Las Vegas, where trucks must maneuver through heavy traffic. In Las Vegas, drivers are supposed to leave 30 seconds of driving time ahead of them so that they can be alert to possible dangers on the road.
Truckers also spend long hours out driving on the road, so sometimes driver fatigue is an issue. In fact, National Transportation Safety Board investigators are finding that driver fatigue played a role in the crash that severely injured actor Tracy Morgan on June 7, 2014. “The Wal-Mart truck driver who slammed into the back of a limousine-van in which Morgan and several other entertainers and friends were riding had been awake for the previous 28 hours,” investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said.
What is Being Done about Unsafe Trucking Practices?
The NTSB is said to be working together with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to strengthen the safety conditions and identify failures of truck operators, drivers, and vehicles. With the recent increase of injuries and deaths, this system is in need of improvement with regards to trucking company’s safety compliance, for both driver and vehicle. Regulators also need a system to identify bad operators to be sure these operators don’t return to the industry under another name.
The commercial trucking industry is an integral and diverse part of our economy and therefore that’s why it’s so important to take these steps to ensure their industry practices improve. NHTSA and FMCSA regulations have minimum requirements, but they’re not the highest standards. The NTSB has found in recent crash investigations that some crashes happen even when an operator is doing everything “by the book.” Trucking companies must be moved to go above and beyond the regulatory compliance to manage their risks and proactively identify operational hazards and to find solutions.