Truck Accident Lawyers
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
Failure to Enforce Truck Safety Rules
Continuing deregulation of federal safety standards for large trucks is endangering the lives of drivers and passengers on our roads. It also makes it more difficult to hold trucking manufacturers liable for defective trucks or components and faulty designs that may have caused a truck accident.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an astounding 442,000 large trucks were involved in crashes in the U.S. in 2005. 114,000 were injured in 78,000 crashes and 5,212 people died in 4,533 crashes with an estimated $30.5 billion cost to the nation. Improved safety laws and stronger enforcement are likely to reduce these appalling numbers.
The overwhelming cause of large truck accidents is driver fatigue. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that driver fatigue accounts for 30% to 40% of semi truck accidents. But while hours-of-service regulations have recently been revised, enforcement of these regulations remains wanting.
One of the consequences of having minimal regulations and failure to aggressively enforce them is that it is difficult for injured plaintiffs in motor vehicle accidents involving trucks to be persuasive when pointing out that meeting federal safety standards represents a very low threshold of safety. This low threshold of safety gives trucking manufacturers great leeway in defending product liability cases.
Product recalls involving trucks and their components, for instance, occur only in the most egregious cases, allowing trucking manufacturers to claim that since a failed part in an accident had not been recalled, they should not be held liable for the accident. Furthermore, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 allows trucking manufacturers to certify that their own vehicles and equipment meet federal standards, even without having tested them.
It is imperative to recognize the limits of federal regulations and the government’s ability to enforce them. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you should consider consulting a lawyer with the experience and resources to fight effectively on your behalf against an industry that is self-regulated. Please call or email us today and we will help you find an experienced truck accident lawyer near you.