Unsafe Trucks on Our Highways
While the issues of large truck and 18 wheeler safety violations go mainly unnoticed, the efforts of these violations can be deadly. Although trucks make less than 4% of all vehicles on U.S. roads, they are involved in 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities. One in 4,000 people die each year in collisions with trucks and over 80,000 more are seriously injured. More people die in collisions with trucks than in collisions with air plains, trains, ships and interstate interstate buses combined. Truck accidents occur for a variety reasons, but many are preventable.
The data for over 28,000 companies, found online at www.justice.org/trucksafetyviolations, is broken down by state. All of the listed companies have either conditional or unsatisfactory safety ratings. A conditional safety rating for a truck company means the company’s records indicate their truck was out of compliance with one or more safety requirements. An unsatisfactory safety rating means the truck companies’ records indicate evidence of substantial non-compliance with the safety requirements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration updates the entire data base of unsafe truck companies on a monthly basis.
In June 2009 the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducted comprehensive road side inspections across the nation. Since the dates of the inspections were announced four months ahead of time – and given plenty of publicity within the trucking industry- the companies had plenty of warning to fix any existing problems. Even with the warning, 22% of the trucks failed inspections and were taken out of service.
Cutting corners on safety is relatively low risk because the chances of being caught are so small. Less than 1% of all trucks failed the CVSA inspection event. It should be noted that 87% of the companies in violation of safety standards have fleets of ten trucks or less. Trucks are vital to the U.S. economy. More than 9 million trucks travel our roads, hauling nearly 70% of all freight transported within the United States. For the 585,000 truck companies in the country, profit margins are slim. As a result they must be as economical as possible.
But, since trucks are inherently dangerous, safety issues must be addressed. Trucks are far larger and heavier than cars and take longer to stop and cause much more damage in collisions. It’s important that our reliance on trucks, and trucking industry’s efforts to keep its costs down, must not override the need to maintain the highest possible safety standards. Clearly, there are safety problems in the trucking industry and the public needs to know the true state of truck safety. Much needs to be done to make our highways as safe as possible.
Quite often they are a direct result trucking companies violating safety standards to cut corners and maximize profits. The unsafe trucking companies run the gamut from small fleets to large and include tractor trailers, cargo tank trucks, motor coaches, school buses, and more than 2000 hazmat companies.