Atlanta, GA- Injury accidents involving large commercial trucks have been declining, but fatal truck and bus accidents are edging up. And the National Traffic Safety Board faults lax oversight on behalf of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for the increase in injuries and deaths caused by buses and large commercial trucks.
Truck accidents in general are on the decline, decreasing 25 percent since 2001, but recent data shows that fatal truck accidents are edging up slightly. In 201, there were a total of 3,608 fatal truck accidents a 3 percent increase over the previous year.
In a hearing held earlier this month, the NTSB stated that oversight of commercial trucking companies and bus lines was lacking citing four bus accidents throughout the year that have led to 83 injuries and 25 deaths.
The NTSB said the four accidents raised “serious questions about the oversight of motor carrier operations” by the Transportation Department, according to the New York Times.
While Anne S. Ferro, administrator of the FMCSA, acknowledged the lack of oversight she said during the hearings that he agency closed at least 100 unsafe bus and trucking companies since 2010. In contrast, the agency only closed one unsafe commercial operator between 2000 and 2009.
Ferro explained that her agency has only 350 inspectors to oversee 10,000 bus companies and half a million trucking companies. This is obviously not enough inspectors to make certain the all the trucks on the highways are working properly and drivers are following driving regulations.
The safety board noted that a the truck driving involved in fatal accident in Tennessee, had a history of “hours-of-service” violations, and that the company had a history of such schedule violations, but the inspections conducted by FMCSA inspections were limited, according to the New York Times.
The leading cause of truck accidents, mechanical failure, is one of the aspects of truck accidents that can be directly impacted by regular inspections.
Regular inspections not only ensure that drivers are following federal driving regulations such as taking mandated breaks and taking enough time to sleep in between driving shifts, these inspections can also detect mechanical failures and faulty safety equipment.
Unfortunately, trucking companies are too concerned with their bottom lines that they allow their vehicles on the roads even when they are not safe. In some cases the large trucks on the road would not pass inspections if they FMCSA had enough people to look for mechanical issues and other equipment and driving violations.
However, these trucks are on the road, and while it is better to prevent accidents, motorists can have some solace in the fact that if they are injured in a truck accident they have a course of action they can take such as filing a personal injury lawsuit. By hiring a truck accident attorney, an injury victim, can seek compensation from the negligent truck company and driver responsible for their pain and suffering.