I don’t know about everyone, but when I am traveling on Pennsylvania or Philadelphia roads, trucks scare me. They’re huge, seem to ignore speed limits, I can’t see the driver, and there are so many of them that often times I feel boxed in a convoy of trucks which I can’t avoid. It frightens me to think what could happen to me and my family in a collision with one of these monsters. As a truck accident lawyer in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, I have seen the consequences of these horrific accidents.
Several years ago I represented a young man who was working construction on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when a tractor trailer driver fell asleep at the wheel, crashing into my client’s parked vehicle. He suffered irreparable brain damage.
As an Op-Ed in the New York Times recently pointed out, these accidents are going to continue to happen unless Congress stops coddling the trucking industry.
As the Times reported:
“More people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all of the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years, if past trends hold true. And still Congress continues to do the trucking industry’s bidding by frustrating the very regulators the government has empowered to oversee motor carriers.”
However, instead of strengthening highway safety rules, Congress has pursued a number of steps to roll back safety improvements ordered by federal regulators.
- It has pushed to allow truck drivers to work 82 hours a week, up from the current 70 hours over eight days,
- suspending a rule that drivers take a 34-hour rest break in order to restart their work week;
- discouraged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from investing in wireless technology designed to improve the monitoring of drivers and their vehicles;
- signaled its willingness to allow longer and heavier trucks despite widespread public opposition.
- Congress also wants to lower the minimum age for drivers of large trucks that are allowed to travel from state to state to 18, from 21.
The death toll in truck-involved crashes rose 17 percent from 2009 to 2013. Fatalities in truck-involved crashes have risen four years in a row, reaching 3,964 in 2013. Those crashes are killing not only car drivers but also, during 2013 alone, 586 people who were truck drivers or passengers.
Large trucks are disproportionately involved in fatal accidents. While heavy trucks accounted for less than 10 percent of total miles traveled in the United States during 2013, according to federal data, the N.T.S.B. recently reported that they were involved in one in eight of all fatal accidents and about one-quarter of all fatal accidents in work zones.
Like the case where I represented the brain damaged plaintiff, many accidents involve trucks rear-ending vehicles that have stopped or slowed because of accidents or roadwork. Technology to prevent or lessen the impact of such crashes is available from all of the manufacturers of heavy trucks in North America. Yet only about 3 percent of the Class 8 trucks — the heaviest ones, including most tractor-trailers — are equipped with any version of this collision-avoidance technology, according to safety advocates.
Most automakers now include or offer anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags and collision-avoidance devices in their vehicles, and the technology is included in many of the heavy trucks sold in Europe. But the United States trucking industry has largely avoided using the safety technologies available for vehicles sold here, because of their cost.
Truck accidents lawyers bring a unique set of skills and trial experience that not all lawyers possess. Participation in truck crash law group like the American Association of Justice Trucking Symposium that I attended for 30 hours of intensive trial instruction highlighting truck accident statistics and truck driving accidents of semi trucks is essential if your case is to be competently handled through trial.
Contact Dan Monahan if you need a Philly truck Accident Attorney or a truck accident lawyer anywhere in Pennsylvania at 610-363-3888. Dan Monahan has obtained settlements, some in excess of $1 Million for clients in the last five (5) years.