Truck Crash Victims and Their Loved Ones Call on President Biden for Industry Reform
A coalition consisting of members of the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) who have been seriously injured in or lost loved ones to deadly truck accidents are calling on President Biden to reform the trucking industry. Calling themselves the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), they have sent a letter to President Biden urging him to make trucking safety a priority in hopes of better preventing serious and fatal truck accidents. Having lost his then wife Neilia and daughter Naomi in a truck accident in 1972, President Biden is no stranger to the tragedy of truck accidents, which the truck crash victims hope will make him sympathetic to their cause.
The Impact of Truck Accidents
Experts state that each day, approximately 13 people lose their lives in truck accidents nationwide, with another 400 more suffering injuries from truck accidents. Last year alone, over 5,000 crash victims were fatally injured in truck accidents nationwide, a number that experts state has been on the rise in recent years. In addition to those 5,000 fatalities, an estimated 150,000 people were injured. The members of the coalition collectively lost 28 of their loved ones to deadly truck accidents.
They argue that sadly, many of these accidents were likely preventable. Last year, the Boston Globe did an investigation that discovered a plethora of loopholes in the federal trucking regulation system. They revealed that more than 4 million trucks (or roughly one in five) is in such poor condition that it would be taken off the roads immediately if seen by a safety inspector.
In response to the Globe investigation, Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the FMCSA, noting the upward trend in truck accident fatalities and asking the FMCSA to address the major safety issues within the trucking industry. In the letter, he urges the FMCSA to make necessary changes to improve road safety by reviewing new trucking companies more thoroughly. Currently, the FMCSA requires trucking companies to “prove” their compliance with federal regulations via paperwork, doing little to look into the accuracy of the companies’ claims. Senator Markey stated that “requiring company owners to pass a safety regulations test or inspecting their vehicles” could make it more difficult for trucking companies to falsify safety information, forcing them to be held more accountable and keeping everyday drivers safer.
The Coalition’s Letter to President Biden
In their letter, the group of truck crash victims and their families are advocating for measures to be taken within the trucking industry to make the roads safer for truckers and other drivers alike. Major action items include implementing speed limiters, requiring sideguards on trailers that would prevent smaller vehicles from moving underneath a trailer in a collision (prevent underride accidents), and mandating automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems as industry-standard on new trucks.
Advocates state that mandating AEB systems for bigger commercial motor vehicles could potentially prevent hundreds of accidents, saving countless lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report stating that this technology, which activates when a potential collision is detected, could prevent over 40% of rear-end truck accidents. In addition, they found that the implementation of AEB technologies lowered truck speeds by 50% in the rear-end accidents that did happen, reducing the damages and injuries inflicted.
They note that these safety measures have already been taken in other countries, stating that “effective solutions that could save thousands of lives are readily available but await implementation.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration granted a petition fighting for AEB technologies to be required for commercial motor vehicles in 2015, but has not taken any action since then.
Not only is the Truck Safety Coalition urging Biden to make much needed safety reform—they are also asking him to appoint leaders to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in hopes of implementing stronger safety initiatives.
The coalition cites a lack of effective leadership at the federal level to regulate safety within the trucking industry, calling upon President Biden to select “effective and committed” leaders within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to actively work towards reforming the trucking industry and making the roads a safer place to be.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a truck accident, it’s important that you have an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney on your side. Our Truck Accident Lawyers have a history of successfully representing people injured in truck crash cases. For a free case evaluation, call us at 713-224-9000, or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you shortly.
Michael S Callahan is an attorney and founder of The Callahan Law Firm. He focuses his practice on representing individuals and families in personal injury cases involving motor vehicle and truck accidents, workplace accidents and defective products. With over 25 years of experience, he is dedicated to fighting on behalf of people whose lives have been forever altered by the negligence and carelessness of corporations and individuals. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Michael has been practicing law and fighting for justice for those who need it most since 1994. He is board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of various esteemed legal associations. Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending quality time with his family, outdoor activities, and continually striving to improve as a trial lawyer and human being.