Passenger car crashes that cause fatalities have been slowly dropping, down almost 2% over the past decade. At the same time, fatal crashes that involve trucks have been increasing – up 18% since 2009. The number of truck crashes overall has also increased, to over 100,000 per year. Why the increase in truck crashes?
One alarming statistic reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is that when subjected to inspection, about 5% of drivers and 20% of trucks are taken out of service due to multiple violations of safety regulations. And yet, oddly, in most states roadside inspection stations are closed practically all of the time. If more inspections were conducted, would truck crash statistics decline?
Another factor in truck crashes is a tired workforce. There is an unfilled demand for truck drivers, which means some companies may quietly look the other way as drivers put in excessive hours. Companies need their goods moved on time, after all. In March 2014 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed to implement electronic logbooks to improve compliance with rules about how many hours drivers can put in.
Some drivers and trucking companies have objected to enforcement of driving hour limits. They say that the current rules encourage drivers to drive trucks during morning rush hour, which does not improve safety. They also claim that cutting driving hours will simply result in more trucks and more inexperienced truck drivers on the road, which increases the risk of crashes.
Bad Car Drivers
Experts argue about the real cause of the increased rate of crashes – is it a human factor, or is it faulty technology? Only around 10% of trucks are equipped with active safety technology, and many truck inspections find that truck brakes are often not as good as they should be. A tired driver with poor brakes isn’t a good combination.
However, analysis of truck crashes finds that around 70% of them are actually caused by passenger car drivers, not by faulty trucks and tired drivers. Perhaps the increase in truck accidents is in large part caused by passenger car drivers forgetting that these big vehicles need more room to stop. Perhaps education of car drivers on how to drive around trucks is the real key to the problem.
Most of the trucks and drivers pulled in safety inspections turn out to belong to sketchy trucking companies. Due to loopholes in truck safety regulations, if a company is about to be shut down due to safety violations all it has to do is change its name and re-register as a different company, and it can continue sending unsafe trucks and drivers out on the road.
Select a Safe Carrier
Businesses who rely on trucks to transport their goods are not too keen on truck crashes, their goods tend to be damaged in such crashes. Even a minor accident can significantly delay delivery of freight, which can cut into a business’s bottom line. Businesses looking for a reliable, safe trucking company can easily avoid the sketchy ones by simply looking at how long the trucking company has been in business. Trucking companies that have been in business for decades are likely to be companies that actually do put safety first. CCC Transportation consistently ranks in the 98th percentile of CSA metrics. As one of the safest carriers in the industry, you can count on us to do the right thing, and in the process get your goods delivered on time and intact. Contact us today to learn more about our exceptional safety record.