Drivers on North Carolina’s busy roads know that collisions with a truck or tractor-tailer are often catastrophic, resulting in major injuries or fatalities. The mandatory minimum level of insurance truck drivers must carry is $750,000.
However, this number was set in 1980 and has not been increased since. There have been many changes over the past 40 years that have contributed to more truck accidents, leading some to question if the mandatory minimum figure should be increased.
Why there are more truck accidents today
Since 1980, the number of trucks on the roads have increased significantly. According to the Truck Safety Coalition, in 1980 there were roughly 27,000 authorize motor carriers on the roads, and today there are approximately 500,000.
Additionally, the physical size of trucks has majorly increased over the years. New laws have allowed trucks to increase in both height and weight. This means that the resulting damages when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle are likely to be much more severe.
Finally, most states have higher speed limits today than they did in 1980. This, combined with the greater number of bigger trucks on the roads, all result in more crashes, with more serious injuries.
Road safety should be a priority
The problem with the low mandatory minimum insurance requirement is that it may not motivate truck drivers to operate safely while on the road. Although some trucking companies set insurance policies at a higher level, some only purchase the required minimum.
Many truck drivers are under tight deadlines, having to make it to their next destination by a certain date. This could cause them to engage in negligent or reckless behavior, such as speeding or not taking required rest breaks, resulting in a higher likelihood of distracted or fatigued driving.
Truck accident victims who are concerned about the possibility of a truck driver being underinsured could benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney. Compensation for medical costs, lost wages or pain and suffering may be available, if negligence can be proven.