Even More Dangerous New York Trucking Accidents?

Trucking accident lawsuits in New York are on the rise. Recent opinion articles in the New York Times have highlighted some controversial legislative proposals that would ease important trucking safety regulations that have been in place for some time. This seems surprising, given the growing number of accidents and fatalities involving large trucks. An accident with an 80,000 lb. truck is more likely to result in death than a crash with a 5,000 lb. passenger vehicle. For this reason alone, it is important to consider any new rules that may jeopardize the safety of New York drivers on our roadways. Let’s take a quick look at some suggested changes. Our New York truck accident lawyers see lawsuits increasing.

More Driving Time Can Mean More Truck Accidents in New York

One change proposed by congress would increase the number of hours a truck driver may work. The increase would be from 70 hours over eight days to 82 hours. This would result in the suspension of an important rule which essentially requires a driver to take a 34-hour break over the span of two nights before starting a new work week.

The risk of driving while fatigued may be greatly increased with the addition of 12 allowable hours of driving. Tired driving already contributes to many injuries and fatalities each year. Tired drivers are slower to react, more easily distracted, and more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel when they have not had enough rest. Surely, adding more time to a driver’s workweek and eliminating an important rest period may lead to more accidents and injuries.

Teenaged Truck Drivers Cause Accidents in New York

Another change proposed by congress would lower the minimum age for drivers of large trucks that may travel across state lines from 21 to 18. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the “risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.”

Is it a good idea to allow an 18-year-old to drive a tractor trailer across state lines given these statistics? Driving a truck is already a dangerous business, and being behind the wheel of a 40-ton vehicle is a big responsibility. Why place this responsibility in the hands of a teenager who already has a higher risk of being in a fatal crash?

Bigger Tractor Trailers Can Mean More Deadly Accidents

Congress has also proposed that trucks be allowed to pull two 33 foot trailers. Current federal law permits two 28 foot trailers. This change in size may increase the instability of trucks carrying multiple trailers. Adding this size may cause more trucks to lose control or have difficulty braking safely when needed.

If these proposed changes become law is it reasonable to expect even more truck accidents on our roadways? We certainly hope this is not the case. Perhaps your awareness of some of the dangers will spur you to exercise extra caution and successfully avoid an accident with a large truck.

If you or a loved one has had an accident with a truck or any other accident, please let us know. Call the experienced Our tractor trailer and trucking attorneys at Leeds Brown to find out what rights you may have to recover compensation after a tractor trailer accident.