The Houston truck accident attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard are committed to helping injury victims and families affected by heavy vehicle accidents that cause serious personal injuries or deaths.
To make sure we provide the best representation possible, we keep track of truck accident statistics and causes.
This article will discuss the recent increase in truck accidents and some of the reasons that the uptick has occurred.
How Many Truck Accidents Are There Every Year?
Over 100,000 people in the U.S. are injured every year in truck crashes.
How Many Fatal Truck Accidents Are There Annually?
In 2014, the number of Americans killed in 18 wheeler and large truck accidents increased for the fourth straight year. 3,964 people died, including truck drivers, pedestrians, and drivers and passengers of other vehicles.
Exhausted Truckers Are A Big Cause
David Friedman, the Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has said that “We do know tired truckers are a risk on our roads. Any effort to reduce the number of people who are tired or drowsy on the road can have an impact.”
Past Government Findings Regarding Large Truck Accidents
Several findings from a 1995 study by the NHTSA regarding large truck accidents are still relevant today, including:
- Younger drivers are involved in fewer large truck crashes.
- Being involved in a collision with a large truck increases the probability of fatal injury to the driver of a passenger vehicle by ninefold when compared to collisions between passenger vehicles.
- The number of fatalities per crash is 13 times as great for the youngest age group of drivers in large truck crashes and 7 times as great for the oldest group than in multiple vehicle crashes between passenger vehicles. The ratio of the fatality rate per vehicle miles traveled also declines for older age groups.
Did Changes To 34-Hour Restart Rule Cause More Truck Accidents?
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) determined that the July 1, 2013 change to the Hours-of-Service (HOS) restart provisions for truckers may have contributed to the increase in truck accidents.
What Is The 34-Hour Restart Rule?
The 34-Hour Restart Rule provides that truckers:
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
What Were The 2013 Changes To the 34-Hour Restart Rule?
The 2013 changes provided that within the 34-hour restart period, truckers had to:
- Include two 1:00 am – 5:00 am periods
- Wait 168 hours or more between restarts
How Did The Restart Rule Cause More Truck Crashes?
ATRI believes that this Rule change led to a “shift of truck traffic from nighttime to daytime and a shift of truck traffic away from the weekends to more congested weekdays, with the biggest decreases in truck activity occurring on Sunday nights.”
ATRI believes this was the result of operational changes precipitated by the rule change, including:
- Drivers abandoning use of the more restrictive 34-hour restart in favor of the rolling recap.
- Expanded use of weekend productivity by drivers, particularly Friday into early Saturday driving.
- Earlier weekend dispatches for drivers to avoid disruptions to early week (Monday-Tuesday) operations.
Congress Suspends 2013 Changes to 34-Hour Restart Rule
Because of the increase in accidents, Congress temporarily suspended the 2013 rule changes so that their effect on driver fatigue and safety critical events can be studied.
The suspension will end on September 30, 2015 or when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes its final report, whichever occurs last.
Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Assist Injured Drivers And Passengers
Morrow & Sheppard are Texas truck accident lawyers who help families affected by serious truck injuries and wrongful deaths nationwide. We are based in Houston but handle serious injury cases throughout the country.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle accident, please contact us now for a free and confidential consultation.
Your consultation does not mean you have to hire us. But if you do, we only get paid if you win.