Truck Accident Lawyer
It is not a secret that large commercial trucks, while vital to the nation’s economy, are safety hazards. Certainly, all motor vehicles are safety hazards to some degree. The number of Americans killed or seriously injured each year as a result of car, light truck, motorcycle, and even snowmobile accidents illustrates this reality clearly. However, large commercial trucks are uniquely hazardous due to their very designs.
A fully-loaded commercial truck that is saddled with freight can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. By contrast, the average American car weighs roughly 4,000 pounds. In addition to being extremely heavy, commercial trucks are generally far longer, taller, and wider than the average passenger vehicle. As a result, they have much more significant blind spots than most other vehicles do, they can’t turn as precisely, and they can’t break as quickly.
Due to their size, weight, and operating limitations, trucks are – by design – less safe than most other forms of road-based transportation in the U.S. Additionally, their size and weight renders them uniquely capable of causing catastrophic damage in the event of a crash.
Because trucks are so inherently dangerous, the federal government has a profound interest in ensuring that they are operationally as safe as they can reasonably be. In particular, the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (FMCSA) is tasked with both regulating the trucking industry and overseeing the safety of the nation’s trucking fleets.
The FMCSA’s Newest Actions
Most recently, the FMCSA took action to better ensure the safety of the nation’s trucking fleets by proposing new criteria for fleet safety monitoring. If enacted as proposed, these new changes could both inspire a reduction in injurious crash rates and lead to greater scrutiny of at least 3% of the nation’s highest-risk fleets.
Essentially, the FMCSA is seeking to modify how it identifies which fleets pose the greatest risk to road safety. At present, the agency is enforcing a Safety Measurement System that has been operational since 2010. As fleet technology and operational standards have evolved significantly since that time, this resource is ripe for reform.
Among the changes being proposed are the addition of 14 new unsafe driving violations that would be tracked across operations, modifying an overly subjective 1-10 scale of hazard severity with a binary approach, and modifying the intervention trigger threshold that is currently in place. All of these changes may not mean much to many people at a glance but they could impact the lives of virtually anyone in the U.S. who travels by road.
Additionally, as an experienced truck accident lawyer – including those who practice at Davis, Johnson & Kallal – can confirm, the actions of federal regulators can significantly impact the outcome of personal injury cases. When a victim files a truck accident lawsuit to pursue rightful compensation, they need to clearly illustrate why a truck operator and/or trucking company named as a defendant caused their harm. If there is strong evidence that a trucking company failed to honor its obligations per federal law and regulations, this reality could significantly bolster a victim’s claim.