Truck accidents can be devastating for those involved in collisions because the truck's substantial size makes injury and death much more likely to occur. Every motorist on the road, as well as professional truck drivers, should be aware of the risks of truck collisions and should take steps to prevent crashes from happening. Truck drivers and trucking companies also have a responsibility to pay attention to trends and new developments which could affect both their obligations and the risk factors which make truck crashes more likely to happen.
Recently, Trucking Info reported on trends for 2016 which could affect the likelihood of truck collisions and the rate of truck accidents on the road. Understanding these trends is key to making informed choices when it comes to how to maximize safety efforts aimed at preventing crashes from occurring.
Trends in 2016 Affecting Truck Accident Risks
Some of the trends identified which could affect the risk of truck crashes in 2016 include the following:
- Increased economic activity: It is unclear exactly what will happen with the economy in 2016. However, the Conference Board has pegged the U.S. economy as "running faster than trend now," with around 2.5 percent annualized growth. The faster pace of growth could continue during the first half of 2016, with strong job growth and low gas prices boosting consumer spending. If economic conditions are better and consumers are buying more, this will lead to higher demand for truck drivers and more trucks on the road. This, in turn, can increase collision risks.
- Continued driver shortages: Regulations have reduced capacity, which is exacerbating the driver shortage and effecting the efficiency of moving shipments. A year ago, congress suspended the 34-hour restart requirement until Department of Transportation conducted a study of whether the rules made a positive impact on reducing fatigue-related collisions. The report is expected to be made in 2016, which means the restart provision could be re-implemented. If this happens, the risk of drowsy driving crashes could decline. However, it could also exacerbate the shortage of qualified truckers. If truck drivers are under increased pressure to keep to tight schedules or if trucking companies are forced to hire less experienced drivers because of a shortage of qualified professional truckers, this could increase accident risks.
- New vehicle technologies: Many new technologies aimed at preventing truck crashes are being developed and implemented. One new possible technology which could be arriving soon would create connected vehicles to allow more driver communication. This could help prevent collisions as motorists could warn others of upcoming hazards.
Regardless of economic conditions, driver shortages, or any other factors, trucking companies and truck drivers remain responsible for taking steps to ensure safety and reduce the risk of truck crashes. If drivers and trucking companies don't live up to their obligations, victims of crashes can pursue damage claims.