Motorists in California know all about struggling through heavy traffic clogged with semi-trucks. The American Transportation Research Institute has concluded that regulatory changes that took full effect in 2014 could be contributing to a rise in property damage and injuries. The federal rules have had the effect of having more trucks on the road during morning rush hours rather than in the middle of the night.
Data published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration appears to validate the findings of the research institute. Although fatalities in truck accidents decreased by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014, injuries reported in wrecks with commercial trucks rose 21 percent in the period. A spokesman for the FMCSA, however, attributed the decline in fatalities to the increasing presence of technologies like electronic stability control and automatic braking systems. These safety improvements make a crash less likely to cause death but injuries still happen, he said.
Even so, a representative from the American Transportation Research Institute preferred to blame the increase in injuries on the fact that trucks were occupying highways during peak rush hours instead of late at night. In congested traffic, trucks move at slower speeds. Accidents with injuries remain a possibility, but the slower speeds could be limiting the number of fatalities.
Because of their overwhelming weight and size, big rigs that are involved in truck accidents can cause serious injuries to occupants of other vehicles that are involved in the collision. Many such accidents are caused by distracted truck drivers or truck driver fatigue, and in such a case, an injured victim may want to find out from an attorney whether both the driver as well as the company itself could be held financially responsible for medical expenses and other losses.