The dramatic increase in e-commerce that occurred with the pandemic and other factors have contributed to a significant increase in commercial truck traffic. With more semi tractor-trailers on the roads today, truck accidents are on the rise in Massachusetts and throughout the nation. In 2020, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
In a collision involving a passenger vehicle and a big rig, occupants of the passenger vehicle are likely to suffer serious injuries. The average passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds, while a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh 80,000 pounds or more. When a crash is caused by the trucker or trucking company, black box data can be used as evidence in a claim for compensation brought by injured victims or their families. Most big rigs have some type of black box.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated, as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other commercial trucks pose a serious risk to other motorists. When a large truck is out of control, the result can be a disaster for innocent drivers and passengers who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The trucking industry runs on tight schedules, with profits based on deliveries. Some types of actions taken by trucking firms could increase unsafe driving conditions.
Even with the rise of remote work in recent years, driving or riding in a vehicle as part of performing job duties is still a necessity for many Americans. Supply chain issues have surfaced during the coronavirus pandemic and have exposed vulnerabilities in the industry, but goods and services will always need to be transported throughout the country. As that happens, the reality is that there will be accidents in which people are injured or killed, and where large vehicles like trucks will cause damage.
Nothing is more horrific than being involved in a semi-truck accident. These collisions are rarely minor and often leave victims with serious injuries that last for years, if not the rest of their lives.
It is widely known that driver fatigue is a serious issue in the trucking industry as more and more accidents are reported on the nightly news. Every driver understands that a lack of sleep can lead to a deadly collision, but this matter is exasperated for truck drivers who travel long-distances without breaks. To limit the dangerous practice of driving while tired, federal regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have imposed hours of service for commercial truck drivers. However, strict fines and legal action have not completely eliminated it, and truck drivers are still likely to be involved in serious or fatal accidents on Massachusetts’s roadways.
Commercial truck operators have specific regulations and compliance requirements that are dramatically different than those for private passenger vehicles. The industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with assistance from state entities for enforcement.
There are over 500,000 active interstate motor carriers in the U.S. One reason for national uniformity and rigid regulation is the potential impact these large vehicles can have on public safety. Most fatalities in large truck collisions are sustained by those in passenger vehicles. These trucks’ weight can be over 20 times that of a car’s. When loaded with freight, they require at least 20% more distance to reach a complete stop.