Highway safety advocates recently released a report that gave many cause to rejoice. The number of fatal motor vehicle accidents across the country has dropped. Perhaps it is tougher drunk driving laws, public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving or advanced safety features in vehicles that has saved hundreds of lives, but you may agree that it is worth celebrating.
Unfortunately, a closer look at the report reveals a disturbing trend. While most categories of motor vehicle accidents have declined, one category is bucking the trend. Fatal accidents involving large trucks rose 9% at the same time other accident fatalities dropped 1.8%. You may feel this is like taking one step forward and two steps back.
Danger on the road
Plenty of truck drivers obey the rules of the road and appreciate the danger they present to other drivers. The size and weight of a big rig can lead to catastrophic injuries in what might be a minor fender bender between two smaller vehicles. Nevertheless, you may never know when you are sharing a Tennessee road with a trucker who is violating basic safety rules, placing you and your loved ones in danger. Some of the most serious truck accidents involve truckers who do the following:
- Using their mobile phones behind the wheel
- Eating, drinking, smoking while driving
- Following your vehicle too closely
- Racing through stop signs and red lights
- Driving while fatigued or failing to obey federal laws for rest breaks
- Driving after drinking alcohol or while under the influence of drugs
- Driving without receiving adequate training or without having the skill or experience for the job
Safety advocates are pushing for more advanced features in newly manufactured trucks, such as alerts for blind zones, rear crossing traffic and forward collision hazards. Manufacturers of new trucks are including crash-avoidance technology, lane-departure warnings and cameras that face into the cab of the truck as well as on the road ahead.
While these advances may promise safer highways for the future, it is not likely all trucking companies will have the funds to replace their older models with high-tech trucks. They may also find it cost-prohibitive to install these features in the trucks they own. For now, you must rely on the good sense and attention of the truckers to avoid situations that may result in an accident. If you do suffer injuries in a truck accident, you can contact an attorney for an evaluation of your case.