Major gaps in federal law may put us all at risk of accidents involving trucks.
As Americans, we put a certain amount of trust in the government to keep us safe. From the food we eat to the products we buy, we believe that the government’s regulations will protect us. This belief also carries into the trucking industry. These large tractor trailers and semi trucks dominate our roads and highways, carrying necessary goods across our nation. While they are a vital part of our economy, their sheer size and the number of hours they are on the road make them dangerous. So how exactly are they regulated — and is that regulation enough?
The United States Department of Transportation has many regulations related to the trucking industry, from the number of hours that drivers can be behind the wheel without interruption to standards for how trucks must be maintained. Trucking companies are also required to submit to safety reviews of both vehicles and drivers.
Trucks are inspected on both a scheduled and random basis by state and federal regulators. Frighteningly, approximately 20% of all commercial trucks — that’s 1 in 5 trucks on the road — end up having problems that require them to be immediately removed from the road until any issues can be resolved. That means that a substantial number of semi trucks currently on the road right now likely have mechanical or other safety issues that could result in car crashes.
With the number of tractor trailers on the road increases each year, the ability of inspectors to keep up with the demand has decreased. Inspection stations are understaffed, so scheduled and random inspections are not being conducted as often — which raises the possibility that there are even more trucks on our highways and roads that have serious mechanical issues.
Tractor trailers are responsible for a large number of accidents that result in fatal or life-threatening injuries. According to the Department of Transportation, trucking companies may become more responsive to safety concerns if their safety records are made available to the public. Currently, some safety information is available to the public through the Safe and Fitness Electronic Records system, or SAFER. The majority of the information is only available to law enforcement personnel and other authorized individuals. The SAFER system maintains information on a trucking company’s history and safety records, including inspections, accidents and the overall safety and fitness score of that trucking company. A skilled truck accident attorney can use this safety record when investigating an accident involving a big rig to prove that the trucking company had a history of violations — but ideally, trucks and trucking companies with a history of violations would simply be kept off the road entirely so people were not put at risk.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, the experienced truck accident lawyers of the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can help. We have a 95% success rate, and have help more than 100,000 people get the money that they deserve for their injuries. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or email@example.com to schedule a consultation. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you!