Truck drivers in Florida and around the country may have had lower involvement in fatal crashes in 2014 than in 2013, but more injuries compared to the previous year were reported based on statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The number of trucks that were in fatal crashes dropped by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014, but the number of non-fatal injuries went up 21 percent over the same period.
A spokesman for the FMCSA says that the statistics reflect better safety systems. Innovations including emergency braking and forward collision warnings mean that more accidents are survivable than ever before, so incidents that might have resulted in fatalities in previous years are now less serious. However, others are not so sure.
According to the vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute, the 34-hour restart provision, which deals with hours of service, is to blame. His claim is that the injury increase is the result of 2014 being the first full year that the provision was in effect. One effect of the regulation is that more trucks are on the road during the morning rush hour instead of in the middle of the night, and the congestion leads to more accidents. However, since traffic moving more slowly at that time, fatalities are down.
Truck accidents can be quite dangerous for occupants of other vehicles who are on the road at the time. The size and weight of big rigs can crush a smaller car, leading to catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries to its occupants. When it is determined that the crash is attributable to a negligent truck driver or to a trucking company that failed to properly maintain its vehicles, then a civil lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney against the responsible party could bring harmed plaintiffs some measure of financial relief.