Recently, the House of Representatives and Senate passed a new six-year, 325 billion dollar highway transportation bill called the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act. This new bill has been introduced to help repair and rebuild the nation’s highway infrastructure to make the roads we drive smoother and safer. While this is great news, however, part of this bill involves new Legislation for the trucking industry which may potentially put more drivers at risk of injury.
This new bill introduces legislation which would help trucking and shipping industries byincreasing productivity, saving fuel and cutting costs. But is the increase in productivity worth the decrease in safety? We already know commercial trucks are dangerous and pose as hazards to other passenger vehicles on highways; in 2013, Class 8 trucks, which are the biggest and heaviest trucks on the road, caused 1 out of every 8 traffic fatalities and are culpable of almost a quarter of traffic fatalities that occur in construction zones. Trucking fatalities are increasing yearly; from 2009 to 2013, the number of fatal accidents involving commercial trucks rose 17 percent, with each of those years seeing more deaths than the previous year.
Parts of this new legislation that could pose more danger to drivers include:
- Decreasing the age restriction for truck drivers from 21 years old to 18 years old. This would allow for younger, much less experienced drivers on the road driving these large dangerous trucks.
- New standards would allow trailers to become longer and heavier, the length of double trailers would increase from 28 feet to 33 feet. Longer and heavier trailers would be even more difficult for these drivers to control and operate while driving, and the increased weight of the trailers would lead to a bigger impact during collisions which could result in even more potentially fatal trucking accidents.
- Suspending the limits of how many consecutive hours a truck driver can spend behind the wheel, as well as the certain amount of hours a driver must take off before starting their work week. We already know most trucking accidents are caused by driver fatigue; this would allow already fatigued drivers to continue driving beyond their current 10 consecutive hour limit or to work more days per week, all for the sake of productivity.
If someone you know or love has been seriously or fatally injured in a trucking accident, you need to hire a trucking accident attorney to make a thorough investigation of the accident and the circumstances surrounding your case. Many trucking companies train drivers how to act and what to say following an accident, so you need an attorney with the experience to prove the liability of the truck driver.
For over the 30 years the personal injury lawyers of Roberts and Roberts have worked to protect Texas drivers and hold those responsible for serious collisions and death accountable. The attorneys of Roberts and Roberts have the skill, experience and resources to fully investigate any serious accident or death. If you have a question about a trucking accident involving a serious injury or fatality, call them. The call will cost you nothing, it can mean everything.