Unsafe Trucks on Our Highways

Many Americans don’t know that at least nine million big rigs travel on U.S. highways every year. Many people are surprised that many of these trucks operate in open and flagrant violation of legally mandated “Federal Safety Standards.” These violations can include allowing untrained or unqualified drivers to operate the vehicles, failing to maintain brakes and/or tires and brakes, salary systems which encourage truck operators to speed and exceed maximum legal driving hours. One of the worst and most common violations is overloaded trucks. Each of these safety violations makes a serious accident more likely.

Safety violations by large trucks and 18 wheelers are mostly unnoticed by the public, the effects of these types of violations can be all too deadly. Trucks make less than 4% of all vehicles on U.S. roads. Despite this, they play a part in 12% of the total fatal motor vehicle accidents each year. At least one of every 4,000 people are killed each year in collisions with heavy trucks. Another 80,000 people are seriously injured in such accidents. More people are killed in truck accients than in collisions involving planes, ships, trains, interstate and intrastate bus transports combined. These truck accidents happen for many reasons, but most are preventable.

The raw computer data for over 28,000 trucking companies, which can be found online at www.justice.org/trucksafetyviolations, is broken down by the web site by state. All of the companies listed have either unsatisfactory or conditional safety ratings. A conditional safety rating indicates that the company’s records show that at least one of their trucks was not in compliance with at least one legally mandated safety requirement. An unsatisfactory safety classification indicates that the companies’ records show evidence of significant non-compliance with these mandated safety requirements. The entire database of unsafe trucking companies is updated every month by “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”

In or around June 2009 the “Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance” (CVSA) did comprehensive inspections of trucks on the road side across the country. The inspection dates were given out four months in advance. They were also publicized widely inside the hauling and trucking industry. The operating companies had several months to fix any problems because of this warning. Despite the warning, at least 22% of the inspected trucks failed the inspection and had to be taken off the road.

This corner cutting on safety is low risk because so few violators get caught. The CVSA inspection event failed less than 1% of all heavy trucks. It is true that 87% of the violators of these safety standards have a total fleet of less than ten trucks. Trucks are no doubt vital to our economy. At least 9 million trucks drive over our roads. They haul almost 70% of all the freight transported inside the United States. Profit margins are slim for the more than 585,000 truck companies in the country. Because of this they realize that they must operate as economically as possible.

Often these slim margins are the direct cause of truck and hauling companies violating legally mandated safety standards. They cut corners to try and maximize profits. The unsafe companies operate everything from large fleets to small ones and include every kind of heavy truck anyone can think of.

If one of these trucks has caused an accident in which you were involved, you deserve compensation.

Are you in Corpus Christi? Have you been in an accident with an 18 wheeler or other big rig?

Give Carabin Shaw a call. We can help. Call us at 361.444.1111, local if you’re in Corpus Christi.

Visits with the Attorney are by appointment only. Main office San Antonio, Texas.

The Carabin Shaw Offices in Corpus Christi are located two blocks south of the Nueces County Courthouse in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Our Corpus Christi telephones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 361.444.1111.


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