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Feds Tout Enforcement in Reduction of Tennessee Trucking Accidents

Federal authorities have begun a compliance review of the Tennessee trucking company that employed a trucker blamed in a fiery crash that claimed three lives, the News & Observer reported. The driver faces charges of driving while impaired and felony death by vehicle. The Greeneville trucking company that employed him has 10 tractor-trailers and employs 10 drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that more unsafe bus and trucking companies have been placed out of service in the last 24 months than in the previous 10 years combined.

Knoxville trucking accident attorneys understand the risk posed by unsafe trucks and buses. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 380,000 accidents involving large trucks claimed more than 4,000 lives in 2008 and injured 90,000 motorists. Tennessee trucking accidents claimed 92 lives that year.

The government is patting itself on the back for enforcement efforts but the truth of the matter is that the feds have been slow to require basic safety improvements, such as on-board data recorders and speed limiters, and even expanded the hours a trucker is permitted to remain behind the wheel. The issue is among the most critical facing motorists because about three-quarters of accident victims in accidents with large trucks are occupants of the other vehicle or non-occupants, such as bicyclists or pedestrians.

“From Day One, I have pledged to put public safety above all else, and we will continue to take action when we see carriers placing passengers at risk,” said U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We have seen the tragic consequences of unsafe practices – whether it’s ignoring fatigue regulations, providing inadequate driver training, or failing to conduct the proper maintenance of a bus or motorcoach. We continue using all of the tools at our disposal to get unsafe carriers off the road and hope that Congress will act on our proposal to provide us with the necessary authority to expand our safety oversight.”

The eight out-of-service orders issued in the past four months includes one to a Tennessee based truck driver. Others went to bus companies in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Mississippi and North Carolina.

“I’m proud of FMCSA’s efforts to crack down and take action on unsafe interstate bus and trucking companies,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Our safety investigators, inspectors and state partners will continue demanding that motor carriers and their drivers adhere to safety requirements. While most of the industry operates safely, I also look forward to working with Congress to add new tools to prevent unsafe companies and drivers from operating.”

Under the Obama Administration, roadside inspections of bus companies have nearly doubled, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 last year. In May, the administration conducted 3,000 surprise inspections and took 442 unsafe buses and drivers off the road. That blitz came in the wake of a New York City bus accident that claimed 14 lives.

The Department of Transportation is also asking Congress to increase the penalty for illegal operation from $2,000 a day to $25,000 per violation.

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a trucking accident in Tennessee, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights with our Knoxville injury lawyers and Marysville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.

Additional Resources:

Officials Crack Down on Trucking Accidents in Tennessee, elsewhere, June 21, 2011

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