Imagine if a jetliner crashed once a week for the entire year, killing everyone on board. There would be a national outcry over airplane safety, and many people would likely stop traveling by air altogether.
Well, that is about how many people are killed each year in accidents involving tractor trailers, but the national outcry is missing. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,000 people are killed each year in fatal truck accidents in the United States and another 100,000 Americans are injured.
Part of the reason that the accidents go largely unreported by the national media is because they are isolated events occurring sporadically all over the country. It wasn't until the trucking accident this summer involving actor Tracy Morgan that the issue was finally thrust into the media spotlight.
What's perhaps most scary is that fatal truck accidents are on the rise. The FMCSA reports that the number of fatal accidents increased by 18 percent between 2009 and 2012. The reason for this is likely because as the economy improves, more trucks are needed to haul goods.
And while this many deaths in any other area of transportation would undoubtedly spark a safety overhaul, some suspect that the trucking industry's direct link to an improving economy is causing lawmakers and safety officials to hesitate before imposing stricter rules and regulations on the industry.
Families who lose loved ones in fatal trucking accidents are often able to pursue damages against negligent truckers and their employers, but all of these families would agree that no amount of compensation can ever take away the pain of losing their loved one. That's why more needs to be done to prevent these tragic accidents.
Source: NBC News, "Truck Accidents Surge, But There's No National Outcry," Eason Javers and Jennifer Schlesinger, July 31, 2014