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Safety Advocates contend Legislative Improvements could Decrease Risk of Tennessee Trucking Accidents

Five prominent highway safety advocacy groups have sent a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood demanding government action to reduce the threat of trucking accidents on the nation’s highways.

Tennessee trucking accident lawyers will note that one of the group’s primary arguments is a fact well-known to injury attorneys in Knoxville and the surrounding area: The victims killed in trucking accidents are most often the occupants of other vehicles.

The group reports that large truck accidents resulted in more that 5,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries in each year since 1994 until the recent economic downturn. Ninety-eight percent of the deaths occur to occupants of the smaller passenger vehicles.

“Our organizations are working hard to reduce these horrific numbers by urging major changes in commercial motor vehicle safety and motor carrier operations,” the group wrote. “Many of these large truck safety advances have already been implemented in countries around the globe.”

Limit Top Truck Speed: Large trucks moving at faster speeds require longer stopping distances. Three-quarters of fatal truck accident occur on roads with a posted speed of 55 mph. Studies suggest that trucks traveling at 65 mph or slower have a reduced risk of accidents and consumer less fuel.

Additionally, the group backs speed-limiting technology that would not permit trucks to travel faster than 65 mph. Thirty-three other countries, including Japan, the European Union and two Canadian Provinces, already require the limiters.

Lower Maximum Hours of Service Requirements: Driver fatigue must be addressed in order to improve overall safety. The Bush Administration increased the maximum consecutive hours of driving from 10 to 11, permitting 17 to 18 more driving hours per week.

Use Technology to enforce HOS: Instead of using data recorders — similar to the black boxes used on airplanes — the government relies upon hand written log books to ensure compliance with hours-of-service rules.

“It is indefensible that, in order to establish HOS compliance, state and federal inspectors and law enforcement are forced to rely largely on second-hand evidence that must be pieced together usually from lengthy paper trails of collected receipts and driver-generated documents,” they wrote.

The group also contends that the ongoing increases in the size and weight of trucks pose safety hazards. And it supports living wages for truck drivers via a pay structure not tied to miles traveled.

The organizations include Road Safe America, Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.

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 Maryville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.

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