Large-truck crashes, many of them fatal, are on the rise. Between 2009 and 2018, for example, there was a 52.6% jump in fatal large-truck crashes according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. There were 4,415 such crashes in 2018. Truckers in Texas should know that various changes over the past two decades are contributing to this increase, and the FMCSA will be investigating these changes.
In January 2020, the FMCSA made its formal proposal to go ahead with a new and updated large-truck crash study. The last time it had conducted such a study was between 2001 and 2003. Researchers will seek to establish a baseline of factors in tow-away, injury and fatal accidents that involve semi-trucks. Afterwards, researchers will come up with strategies for avoiding and mitigating such crashes.
The factors in large-truck crashes are numerous and include cellphone use, especially texting behind the wheel, the use of in-cab navigation systems and fleet management systems and even the use of vehicle safety features like automatic emergency braking.
Many drivers assume that safety features allow them to pay less attention to the road, but the time of automated vehicles is still far in the future. Researchers do hope, however, that the strategies they create can help guide the development of automated driving systems for commercial fleets.
Inattentive driving is a form of negligence, and if an investigation into a crash shows that the trucker was the one being negligent, then victims may be able to file a claim against that trucker’s employer. Trucking companies usually have teams of lawyers who can fight to deny claims or get victims to settle for less than they deserve, so victims may want a lawyer of their own to assist with negotiations. As a last resort, the lawyer might litigate.