There is a reason many insurance companies ask for estimated miles driven when offering auto insurance. They know that the more miles a person spends on the road, the greater the chances of getting into an accident. Make those long hours consecutive or back-to-back and the risk of disaster climbs. It comes as no surprise to anyone that crashes claim as many lives as they do among truckers.
According to the CDC, crashes remain the leading cause of on-the-job deaths for truck drivers. It acknowledges that truck drivers play an indispensable role in the modern world. Even so, it also points out that the high crash rates make roadways unsafe not for the drivers themselves but their passengers, other drivers, pedestrians and the affected communities overall.
Preventing fatal crashes
Here are some factors in truck crashes that are important to note:
- Of the truck drivers who take long-haul routes, 14% do not wear seatbelts.
- Truck drivers who do not wear seatbelts have a higher likelihood of engaging in unsafe driving behaviors that affect other road users, such as speeding.
- More than one-third of truck drivers taking long-haul routes have been involved in at least one serious crash while driving for work.
The AAA Foundation estimates that in 2015 alone, 4,000 people died and 116,000 became injured after a total of 400,000 crashes involving trucks. While drivers of any vehicle should wear seat belts, the AAA Foundation points out that adding safety technology to trucks could make all the difference. Most of these features are already standard on cars. Should they not also become standard on 10,000-pound vehicles driven by overworked drivers?
AAA believes that if this happened, truck crashes could see a 63,000 crash decline per year. The safety features it believes would be most effective include:
- Lane departure warning
- Air disc brakes
- Automatic emergency braking
- Safety monitoring systems that rely on videos to record information
This would put safety responsibility and accountability on not just the truck but the driver as well. Most importantly, it could prevent tragic deaths that could have been avoided.