A recent study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2010-2011, fatalities of 18-wheeler occupants rose 20% in a single year. In light of the overall decline in traffic fatalities in 2011, this is very surprising news for those who follow and track auto safety.
While many seem to assume weather and higher speed limits are the main reasons for the increase, analysis of accident data shows that the reasons for the increases are actually quite unclear. Because of this, many experts are exploring other possible causes. One thing everyone in the trucking industry can agree on is that the increase is “discouraging,” as a spokesman for the American Trucking Association put it. Experts have suggested a number of potential causes for the uptick, including the improved economy, which has resulted in more congestion on highways throughout the country.
The important question everyone is asking is what can be done to get the numbers back down?
There are some new technologies available that could drive the numbers back down, but they haven’t caught on yet. For example, a system developed by Volvo has several features that could save many lives, yet only 10% of all registered large trucks are equipped with it. The system is able to sense a vehicle ahead and begins to brake the vehicle on its own. It also sets off an alarm whenever the truck is within 1.5 seconds of rear-ending another vehicle. Unfortunately, because the trucking industry is virtually unregulated, the installation of most technology is left to trucking operators, which explains why 90% of trucks don’t have it.
One issue not discussed here is the increase in commercial motor vehicle accidents in and around the communities affected by the shale oil boom. The communities in the Eagle Ford Shale Formation have seen commercial motor vehicle accidents increase dramatically. Karnes County, Texas alone has seen a 1,150% increase in commercial motor vehicle accidents from 2008-2011. As Tractor Trailer Fatalities continue to rise, more people in Texas will be affected by this sad trend. If you have been injured or lost a loved one as the result of a trucking accident, call the San Antonio Trucking Accident Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.