Semi trailer trucks are inherently extremely dangerous before the competency and state of the driver is even factored into the equation. The trucks themselves are huge, steel objects weighing up to 80000 lbs which barrel down highways in an BGV A3 effort to get to their destination as soon as possible. These trucks are responsible for a frightening number of fatalities each year but safety regulation has been a difficult battle for lawmakers.
Accidents and 18-Wheelers
Trucks drivers are generally paid per trip and therefore go to great lengths to get from location to location in as little time as possible. This often involves driving through the night. Truckers working for companies are also pressured to get the product in quickly without regard to personal safety.
Sadly, the result is hundreds of severely sleep deprived drivers attempting to make fast trips through the night in vehicles which receive incredible wear and tare and are at constant risk of tire blowouts, brake failure or other breakdowns on the highway. The following statistics reflect the threat these vehicles pose:
o About every 16 minutes there is a truck related death.
o In 2007 it was reported that one out of every nine traffic fatalities involved a semi.
o While 18 wheelers only account for 3 percent of all vehicles registered on the road, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, they account for 12 percent of all the vehicles involved in fatal car crashes.
o From 1992 to 2002, the number of semi trucks involved in fatal car crashes increased by 10 percent.
Semi Truck Legislation
The main governing body of the trucking industry is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. FMCSA is responsible for making sure that trucking companies as well as independent truckers
o Maintain their vehicles up to a set of certain standards
o Properly train drivers-this goes beyond just teaching them to drive the vehicles, it also includes trouble shooting and taking a set of steps towards safety
o Have employees take routine drug tests
o Comply with all set safety standards
Since 1995 there has been constant back and forth legislation concerning trucking safety. Certain rules are put into place and soon after, due to intense lobbying on the part of the trucking industry, they are often times taken away.