Because of the sheer size of the vehicles, any accident involving a large commercial truck is bound to be serious and often fatal. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is planning to conduct its first large truck crash causation study (LTCCS) in 15 years and release the results to the public.
The study will identify the factors contributing to accidents and find ways to help prevent them and lessen their severity.
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Factors Included in Truck Crash Data
FMCSA data show that large truck accidents resulting in death have increased by 52.6% since 2009, according to FreightWaves.com reports. This statistic is worrying enough, but accidents also increased by 5.7% just between 2016 and 2018. Fatal truck accidents are clearly becoming more common.
In the study, a large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds. Large trucks typically include tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, box trucks and tanker trucks.
In the previous 2001-2003 study, the FMCSA found that the truck driver was responsible for the vast majority of accidents, whether through action or inaction.
This new study will look for trends and contributing factors by examining driver behavior and crash data in all accidents causing damage, injury, and death. It will then use that information to develop safety policies.
Differences from Last FMCSA Study
A lot has changed in our world since the FMCSA last released a similar study in 2001-2003. New technological developments in the last decade and a half, such as the advent of smartphones, mean that the FMCSA has to incorporate new data. Cell phone use and texting while driving, for example, are new distractions that cause many accidents and were not as much of a problem 15 years ago.
We also now have electronic devices in our vehicles that were not as common back then, such as GPS and other modern safety equipment including emergency braking systems. Many large trucks also have on-board fleet management systems that monitor and record the events during a drive such as hard braking or speeding. These systems gather information to increase efficiency and safety and to hold the drivers accountable.
Levels of automation in driving have also increased, with some vehicles being fully automated with little to no driver input. The new study will help determine where and how these new automated systems can best be used to improve safety. Even some aspects of road design are different now and could affect results.
The organization is seeking input from the public and stakeholders in large truck companies on the best way to conduct this study. There is a deadline of March 16, 2020 to submit suggestions before the study begins.
Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. after an Alabama Truck Accident
Large truck accidents can cause devastating injuries and even death. If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, you need an experienced legal team on your side. Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. in Huntsville or Florence, Alabama, by calling us, filling out our online contact form, or using the live chat function on our website.
Joe A. King, Jr., has been trying cases on behalf of injured plaintiffs or surviving families since 2000.