Over the past two or three years, trucking accidents have been shown to be on the rise.
Given the size of the vehicles and the difficulty or handling them, it’s no surprise that they’re frequent, and deadly. Whether or not this surge can be put down to a specific factor, it’s hard to tell. There’s quite a lot at play here.
One of the biggest factors at play is the condition of the driver, and the nature of the work. According to the FMCSA, driver error is the most prominent cause of trucking accidents, and it’s no surprise when the job is taken into account. Truck drivers often work nights and long hours, driving and driving until they’re just too tired to continue.
The FMCSA also states that the cause of most of these crashes is often determined weeks and months before the incident itself. These causes “include driver training and experience,” and “vehicle design and manufacturer.” Is every element of being a truck driver leading up to these fatal accidents? Can more be done to help the workers, and other road users? Yes – and it’s simpler than you might think.
A lot of trucking accidents are caused by basic driver error – by ironing these out, many lives could be saved. For example, this could be trucks stalling on hills and rolling backward or other cars tailgating them. Being more careful and taking more time on the road could go a long way.
The trucking industry itself can also start to do more. In Europe, truckers work less hours than truckers in other locations, which helps with driver fatigue and negligence. The less driving truckers do, the more time they have to rest and focus.
Of course, none of this will be of comfort to the families and relatives of accident victims. For them, their one ray of light is help from skilled truck accident lawyers and the knowledge that other accidents could be prevented.
And that’s the other key pillar to halting the truck-accident pandemic. We need our voices to be heard, so the powers that be are forced into action.
A trucking accident in 2013 led one of the survivors, Marianne Karth, to press transport agencies for safer trucking rules. This campaign got support from thousands of people, resulting in more than 11,000 petitions being sent to US regulators.
In short, avoiding road accidents is a collective effort. It’s a sad state of affairs to be in when it takes the deaths of thousands of innocents in order for change to occur, but occur it must. The next time you’re out on the road, truck or no, consider how your driving will impact others. Consider whether our roads are truly safe enough, and if there’s anything you can do to help.
So, to answer the question in the title, perhaps we can’t truly prevent them. All we can do is stay vigilant, safe and careful. As a result, these accidents will prevent themselves.