The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that the number of serious dump truck accidents and ready-mix concrete truck accidents rose by 9 and 9.6 percent, respectively, in 2016. By “serious,” the FMCSA report means accidents where the truck in question had to be towed away. Though 2016 is the latest year with complete data, there is little doubt that this upward trend has not changed. Truckers in North Carolina may wonder why.
A major reason is poor driving habits among truckers. Fatigued driving, speeding and distracted driving, especially cell phone use behind the wheel, are all too common among truckers. Many feel encouraged to speed and violate federal hours-of-service guidelines because of the by-the-load incentives they receive.
In the early 2000s, federal regulators and insurance companies made efforts to improve vehicle safety technology and driver safety campaigns. These efforts helped reduce the number of accidents, but over the past decade efforts have stalled. The issue is a multi-industry one.
In all, there were 8,206 serious dump truck crashes and 838 concrete delivery truck crashes in 2016. The FMCSA states that dump truck and concrete delivery truck accidents involving injuries also rose by 2.7 and 3.8 percent, respectively. Fatal accidents declined among dump trucks, though only from 369 to 367. Fatal concrete truck accidents increased from 33 to 38.
In the event that passenger vehicle occupants are injured in a commercial truck accident, they may be able to file a claim against the trucker’s employer. In this state, victims are barred from receiving damages if they contribute even one percent to an accident, so they will want a lawyer to evaluate their case and make sure it’s strong. The lawyer could hire investigators to gather evidence before proceeding to the negotiation stage. Victims can leave litigation as a last resort.