We recently wrote about the potential safety implications of the restart rollback provisions contained within the most recent federal appropriations bill. We noted that because truck drivers are no longer required to obtain a certain level of rest before operating their vehicles that they could potentially pose an increasingly significant safety risk to themselves and those around them.
Unfortunately, fatigued truck drivers are not the only reason why Americans can reasonably fear the risk of being involved in injurious or fatal truck accidents. Commercial big rigs are not always properly maintained and therefore can serve as a significant risk factor when it comes to the probability of accidents occurring on American roads.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, over 14,000 individuals have perished as a result of large commercial truck accidents since 2009 alone. Of those deaths, nearly 25 percent occurred as a result of crashes involving big rigs which had been cited with safety violations. This staggering statistic illustrates that many unsafe vehicles are currently traveling on American highways and surface streets. These unsafe vehicles are a pubic safety menace and their presence must be urgently addressed.
It is difficult to estimate just how many unsafe vehicles are currently in operation. However, the federal trucking industry should be regulated in ways which ensure that only safe vehicles are allowed to remain operational. If unsafe airplanes were traveling the skies, the American public would be outraged. It is critically important that unsafe trucks are treated with the same kind of urgency that unsafe airplanes would be, especially because Americans are far more likely to perish in motor vehicle accidents than they are in airplane crashes.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Is that big rig road worthy?” Dec. 21, 2014