Are Some Truck Drivers Endangering the Public?
Semi-trucks crisscross America on a daily basis. A recent article on a six-year study of highway truck inspections in Indiana raises questions about the safety of these vehicles and their drivers.
The Times of Northwest Indiana began investigating trucking inspections after state inspectors reported approximately 25 percent of the semis on the highway have either safety defects or deficient drivers. The data, compiled from 2003-2008, shows of the 34,856 trucks inspected in Lake and Porter counties in Indiana, 8,929 had a safety violation serious enough to remove the trucks from service. Inspectors believe this data only begins to uncover the problems.
The most common problem with the equipment was malfunctioning brake systems. Faulty brakes can easily cause deadly semi-truck accidents. Tired drivers are also a serious problem. In an effort to reduce driver fatigue and the risk of falling asleep at the wheel, national law states truck drivers can only be on the road for 11 hours straight before they must take a 10 hour break. 10,376 violations were issued between 2003-2008 for missing driver logs or drivers who had been on the road too long by federal standards.
The semi-truck weighs on average 80,000 pounds while the average passenger vehicle weighs about 2,600. This means in a car and tractor-trailer crash, those in the car likely face catastrophic car accident injury or death. Some states like Indiana hope random inspections and police officers charged with pulling over erratic truckers will deter companies from operating unsafely. But even those in charge admit that there are companies that accept fines as the cost of doing business and that these business practices may lead to truck accident lawyers bringing personal injury lawsuits.