Determining causation after an Ohio trucking accident is a complex challenge. Preventing such accidents is also complex.
It's a critical safety issue because of the increasing number of road deaths. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2016 saw a total of 3,986 deaths caused by large truck accidents. Economic expansion and a nationwide shortage of nearly 50,000 truck drivers mean new technology and safety features will be critical to reducing the risks moving forward.
Consumer Reports recently examined what the trucking industry can do to reduce risks of accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles. This involves implementing forward-collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking.
Causes of Ohio Trucking Collisions
Our recent report on fatigued commercial drivers illustrates the complexity of determining causation in a truck accident. Only this year has the federal government begun mandating electronic tracking of hours-of-service compliance to help keep tired truckers off the road. If a truck driver violates this mandate, he or she can be found negligent for any injuries caused.
Unfortunately, the trucking industry has been similarly reluctant to adopt other technologies, including onboard date recorders and speed limiters, which could both reduce the risks and help identify causation factors of serious and fatal tractor-trailer collisions.
While forward-collision warning systems and automatic-braking technology are becoming standard among passenger vehicles, such safety technology is only slowly making its way into the nation's commercial trucking fleet.
Risks of Trucking Accidents in Columbus
Measuring truck-safety risks is also hampered by the lack of information that could be made available through modern technology. The last major accident causation study, conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2007, found 87 percent of trucking collisions were caused by driver error. Among the most common causes of trucking accidents were mechanical problems, drug use, speeding, unfamiliarity with roadway, not paying attention, and fatigue. Less common causes included illegal maneuvers, tire problems, jackknifing, shifting cargo, and illness.
The complexity of causation also make it critical to choose a law firm with significant experience in handling truck accidents, since trucking companies may be adept at vigorously defending against liability. Determining causation is a critical step to making a claim, but so is identifying all responsible parties, including truck drivers, freight companies, truck maintenance and leasing companies, and their associated insurance carriers.
Holding these companies responsible for serious and fatal traffic collisions is one way to reduce the risks for everyone on the road. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, it's crucial to speak to an attorney at Smith Law Office as soon as possible.