Serious Truck Crashes Pose A Growing Threat To New Yorkers
Catastrophic large truck crashes are on the rise nationally, and this problem may only become worse as the trucking industry grows.
Truck crashes often rank among the most severe motor vehicle accidents that occur in Newburgh. Large trucks can dramatically outweigh other vehicles, worsening the consequences for drivers or passengers in those vehicles. Trucks also exhibit various dangerous tendencies, including rolling over and riding over smaller vehicles. Unfortunately, crash data shows that these serious accidents are becoming more common and taking a significant toll in New York.
Accidents on the rise
According to The New York Times, the number of large truck crashes serious enough to result in fatalities has increased nationally for several years. From 2009 to 2013, a year in which 3,964 lives were lost, the overall number of fatalities rose 17 percent. Truck crash fatalities have also begun to account for a large proportion of all traffic deaths. In 2013, trucks played a role in one-quarter of work zone accident fatalities and one-eighth of traffic deaths.
Sadly, many of these accidents may occur due to preventable factors. For example, many trucking companies have declined to utilize safety technologies that have helped reduce car accident deaths in recent years. According to CNBC, one industry group estimated in 2014 that only about one in ten trucks employ active safety technology.
Regulatory violations may be another common factor in these accidents. In 2012 alone, more than 100,000 truck drivers were removed from service immediately after safety inspections due to rule violations. During the same year, over 2.1 million vehicles, or more than one-fifth of all trucks on the road, were removed for the same reason. Even more drivers and vehicles may have had uncaught violations that later caused accidents.
Troubling long-term trends
Sadly, the risk of catastrophic motor vehicle accidents that involve large trucks might only worsen in coming years. Anticipated growth in the trucking industry is likely to place extra pressure on drivers and trucking companies. This may raise the risk of violations of regulations regarding driver rest hours, cargo loading and vehicle maintenance. A potential shortage of drivers may also increase the likelihood of accidents.
One industry group reports that the trucking industry needs to hire an estimated 100,000 drivers each year until 2025 to accommodate projected growth. Worsening the problem, the industry already faces a driver shortage, and turnover among truck drivers is typically high. Troublingly, an influx of drivers who may be new and inexperienced might only enhance the risk of accidents.
Large truck accidents already take a substantial toll in New York, according to data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2014, there were 11,848 accidents involving large trucks in the state. People lost their lives in 74 of these crashes, and another 3,760 accidents left people injured.
When these accidents involve reckless and unnecessary decisions on the part of trucking companies or drivers, victims may have legal options. If victims can show that another party was at fault in the accident, they might be able to secure various damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Victims may benefit from speaking to an attorney for advice on determining liability and navigating the claim process.