Improving U.S. economy may lead to increased tractor trailer traffic


America has had an increase in large truck accidents, injuries and deaths, which may continue to increase with the improving U.S. economy.

Tennessee residents rely on tractor trailers to distribute freight throughout the country. These massive big rigs are an essential part of Tennessee’s economy, as well as the American economy. Yet, as more tractor trailers fill the nation’s highways, motorists are urged to take caution when traveling alongside large trucks. Since 2009, the number of people killed in large truck accidents nationwide has increased substantially, jumping from 3,211 deaths in 2009 to 3,802 fatalities in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of catastrophic injury related to tractor trailer accidents has increased as well. There are several possible reasons for this increased large truck fatality rate.

Increase in freight

The American Trucking Association reported that as the American economy continues to grow, the amount of freight tonnage that needs to be distributed will also rise. The ATA expects the amount of freight to grow by 23.5 percent by the year 2025. The revenue from this dramatic freight increase will spike by 72 percent. In order to keep up with demand, trucking companies will need to hire approximately 100,000 new truck drivers every year. With the current shortage of qualified truckers, however, this may be hard to do.

Shortage of truck drivers

While some people are hesitant to become commercial truck drivers due to the long hours away from their home and family, others are unsure of whether they can earn enough money to make it worth their while. The increase in large truck fatalities over the past few years encouraged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to revise the Hours of Service regulations. The FMCSA decreased the number of hours truck drivers could spend behind the wheel each day from 14 hours to 11 hours. Truckers are now only able to work a total of 70 hours each week. Not only has the decrease in driving hours upset trucking companies who are trying to deliver more freight with fewer drivers, but truckers are not happy with the decrease in potential pay.

The dangers of negligent truck drivers

Even through the FMCSA has stiffened the Hours of Service regulations, trucking companies and truckers alike may violate these restrictions in order to meet strict deadlines and deliver more freight. Drowsy truckers can lead to catastrophic truck accidents in Tennessee and across the country.

A high-profile accident last summer in New Jersey severely injured actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one of his comedian friends. According to Bloomberg Business, their limousine was rear-ended by a truck driver who had been awake for 24 hours before the accident occurred. The trucker failed to see the stopped traffic ahead and plummeted into the back of the limousine. Morgan and the other surviving victims of the accident filed a third-party lawsuit against the trucking company for negligence in hiring, training and scheduling the reckless truck driver.

Legal help may be necessary

If you or a loved one has been involved in a devastating truck accident in New Jersey, it may be beneficial to contact a personal injury attorney. A lawyer may be able to help you sort out the details of the accident, and proceed through the legal process.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury