The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a comprehensive study of the causes of large truck accidents with the intention of using that information and data to guide its enforcement priorities in the future. According to a news report, this is the first of such a study since the agency conducted the last one back in 2001-2003, which at the time included a review of 120,000 truck accidents. Over the last 15 years since this study was done, there have been a number of changes in technology, vehicle safety, driver behavior, and roadway design, which have affected how a driver performs.
What the Study Hopes to Examine
The FMCSA also pointed out that after the study ended in 2003, fatal accidents involving large trucks decreased until 2009 when they hit their lowest point in recent years – 2,893 fatal crashes. However, since 2009, fatal crashes involving large trucks have steadily increased to 4,415 in 2018 – which amounts to a 52.6% jump when compared to 2009. Over the last three years, fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 5.7%.
The agency says such a study will help it identify factors that are contributing to the growth in fatal truck accidents, both injury and property-damage-only crashes. The agency also hopes the study will lead to effective new strategies to improve safety. There are also a number of new factors that must be taken into account since the last study was conducted such as a dramatic increase in distraction caused by cell phones and texting, the level of seatbelt use, the advent of in-cab navigation and fleet management systems and equipment designed to enhance safety such as automatic emergency braking systems.
The FMCSA observes that research is expected to suggest ways that will help guide the development of automated driving technology. Understanding driver behaviors better, they say, will help identify areas where new driving automation systems can be of assistance. The new research is expected to combine several different methods for gathering data including from post-accident investigation reports and onboard electronic recording devices along with carrying out extensive surveys and interviews with professional drivers.
Preventing Devastating Crashes
Our California truck accident lawyers welcome this study, which we hope will give all of us crucial data that is needed to prevent these types of devastating crashes involving large trucks. When a large truck strikes a smaller vehicle, it is often the occupants of the smaller passenger vehicle who suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Some of the common causes of large truck accidents we see include impaired driving, driver fatigue, distracted driving, excessive speed, and mechanical failure often caused by lack of vehicle maintenance. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. An experienced truck accident attorney will help you better understand your legal rights and options.