According to the American Trucking Associations, the forecast for freight economy includes continued growth. The ATA Forecast publication predicts that the volume of truckloads will increase 3.5 percent annually through 2019, and then 1.2 percent each year from 2020 to 2025. The prevalence of large commercial vehicles on the road is evident in the number of truck accidents each year reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In 2012, Illinois joined nine other states in contributing to 50 percent of the country’s tractor trailer accidents. A Chicago truck accident attorney is often able to help victims of these catastrophes to gain compensation for personal injuries and property damages.
Increased competition may lead to unsafe conditions
Experts believe trucking will continue to be the country’s primary mode of freight transportation, although there may be a shift from for-hire drivers to larger freight corporations. The intensity of the competition is already placing extra pressure on self-employed individuals who work on contract, as well as smaller trucking companies. Many drivers are paid by the mile, which encourages them to continue to drive long after they reach the federal limit of 11 hours each day. A natural consequence of these long hours is driver fatigue. The length of the shift is directly related to the risk of a crash. Two twelve-hour shifts are equal to six eight-hour shifts when measuring the likelihood of an accident.
Negligence, drowsy driving, poorly maintained trucks and loads that are imbalanced or over legal weight limits all contribute to the number of injury and fatality accidents each year, and a 3.5 percent increase in truckload volume could cause a corresponding rise in vehicle crashes. A victim of a truck accident can benefit from contacting a Chicago truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.
Federal agencies monitoring trucking violations are underfunded
In a recent local CBS news story, investigators reported that there are 2,500 Illinois trucking companies that are allegedly on a federal watch list due to safety violations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attempt to monitor the activity of these companies, but do not have the resources to do this effectively. If the funding for these agencies does not increase to correspond to the number of trucks on the road, the risk for truck accidents will continue to grow, as well.
People who are injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle should know their rights regarding compensation. A Chicago truck accident attorney can provide legal counsel on the best way to proceed.