Potential factors in the 29-year high for trucking deaths

There were 4,761 people who died in large-truck crashes in 2017, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. This marks a 9 percent increase from the previous year as well as a startling 29-year high. Truckers and truck fleet owners in California and across the U.S. have spoken up on what they believe are some of the factors in this increase, and the first has to do with a federal guideline.

In particular, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all commercial truckers to take a 30-minute rest break after eight consecutive hours of driving. Some truckers say that by being forced to take the break, they wind up driving drowsy for part of their shifts. Others complain that the inflexibility of the rule leads many to race the clock. However, speeding is behind fewer truck crashes than it was three years ago.

According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the second most frequent concern among truckers is the lack of accessible truck parking. One study shows that the majority of crashes where an at-fault trucker is drowsy occur at least 20 miles away from truck stops and rest areas.

Many truckers also complain that newer drivers have bad habits behind the wheel. For example, texting and driving is becoming widespread. The use of driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control sometimes makes matters worse by rendering drivers inattentive.

In a case where a trucker is to blame for a collision, the victim can seek the representation of a lawyer who works in truck accident law. Claims against trucking companies can result in large settlements.